If you’re in a hurricane-prone area, now is the time to prepare your business before a hurricane is predicted. By taking a proactive approach to disaster recovery, you can minimize damage to your business assets and increase your chances of business continuity.
The 2017 hurricane season began in June and continues through the end of November. The season peaks, on average, between mid-August and mid-October with one to two hurricanes in the U.S. each year. Although La Niña conditions ended in February, the potential for El Niño (which reduces hurricane activity) to develop remains uncertain, creating a range of storm predictions for 2017. Most models, predict a storm season that’s more active than usual with the extended range forecast for the Atlantic Hurricane Season seeing 11 to 17 named storms versus the 30-year historical average of 12.
Source: “2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Expect It to Be Busier Than Usual” via Weather.com
Let’s look at how you can prepare for hurricane season and how hybrid hosting solutions can keep critical IT infrastructure and business operations running securely, reliably, and effectively 24/7/365.
Wind, torrential rains, and flooding are forces that cannot be controlled. The Small Business Administration (SBA) reports that an estimated 25% of businesses do not reopen after disaster strikes. Therefore, it’s crucial to identify the potential risks to your business from natural disasters. The number one threat to your IT infrastructure results from malfunction or failure of the equipment and systems that support it. Despite the possibility of substantial disruption or loss of business, a study by Harris Poll on behalf of Nationwide reveals that 68% of small business owners do not have a disaster recovery plan (DR) in place. However, there are factors that you can control.
Preparation with Your Hybrid Hosting Provider
Choose a hybrid hosting provider that is out of the hurricane threat zone—whether you use their services for colocation, a managed server, cloud services or a combination, you can can backup your data to their facilities, as a secondary site. The key to minimizing loss and ensuring uptime after a hurricane is planning well before the storm strikes. Be sure to address the following in your strategy:
Communications: Sometimes overlooked in preparing for disaster is planning for how to communicate with stakeholders during and after a crisis. Employees, customers, business partners, media, and your local community will have questions about what your organization is doing to manage and respond to a hurricane or other natural disaster. Develop a comprehensive communication plan that documents reference information for the day of the emergency, including employee evacuation instructions, identification of key staff to kick off the process, contact info for those who are charge of managing your systems, and template messages to update concerned audiences such as customers, regulators, and community officials.
Sample communication plan elements:
- Emergency contact list for internal parties and external media
- Email templates and approved social media messages for sending internal and external alerts
- Prepared company statements for the media
Business Continuity: In order to maintain or restore any disrupted business operations in the wake of a hurricane you must understand your companies essential elements of people, place, and process. Business continuity encompasses more than just data backup. Consider:
- How will you protect and secure your physical offices and locations? What functions and roles does the hybrid hosting provider perform on your behalf?
- Which parts of your systems must be recovered first?
- How often will you test your efforts?
- Is there a backup site you can use if your physical facilities or colocation site are non-operational?
IT Disaster Recovery: Complete and frequent documentation is the foundation of an IT disaster recovery plan. You should know the inventory of your IT infrastructure, how it operates, and what team members are keeping your systems operating. This documentation should then be paired with contingency systems such as backup power, redundant data storage, and offsite servers. Combining detailed documentation with contingency planning will allow you to implement your recovery plan successfully and efficiently, restoring your operations to the status quo as quickly as possible. Determine and improve upon the following DR elements:
- Business impact analysis – identify your critical systems and the impact of their malfunction. These may change overtime.
- Recovery Point Objectives – Your data loss tolerance will determine the frequency for your data backups.
- Recovery Time Objectives – the target timeframe for the restoration and recovery of your operations.
Hybrid hosting offers both planning and support your IT performance and ongoing disaster recovery management. Look for providers with the most up-to-date technology in geographically stable locations to gain redundancy and reliability for your data systems. Ask vendors about their service level agreements to better align expectations should an emergency occur. Top benefits include:
- Flexible, scalable services that can be integrated or changed as your business needs evolve
- Hybrid hosting providers offer onsite maintenance, management, and critical updates to power, cooling, bandwidth, and more.
- As-a-service model offers you maximum uptime, with minimal effort on your end.
At OnRamp, we not only maintain the hardware and software for disaster recovery, but also provide service and support for your hybrid IT infrastructure needs, be it colocation, managed servers, or cloud. Contact us today to find out how our solutions ensure the next big hurricane doesn’t knock you out of business.
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