As Hurricane Season Approaches, Don’t Forget Your Disaster Recovery Plan

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The Atlantic hurricane season, which lasts roughly from the beginning of June to the end of November, is fast approaching, forcing businesses and organizations across Florida and the southeastern US to assess their disaster readiness. According to weather forecasters, the 2020 hurricane season is predicted to be more active than normal, with weather conditions likely to produce around eighteen named storms, nine of them powerful enough to be categorized as hurricanes. Considering that an average season features twelve storms (six of them hurricanes), organizations need to think about how that increased activity could impact their operations.

More importantly, they need to make sure they have a disaster recovery plan in place to mitigate the risks posed by hurricanes. This is especially important for Florida businesses and government agencies with operations located in coastal areas and flood zones.

 

Why Do You Need a Disaster Recovery Plan During Hurricane Season?

While hurricanes are among the most devastating natural disasters for their ability to impact large areas, they are also unique for their relative predictability. Certain areas of the country are more likely to be hit by a hurricane during certain times of the year and the weather systems capable of producing a storm are generally identified long before that storm actually makes landfall. That means people have the crucial time needed to plan when a storm is bearing down on them and are less likely to be caught off guard.

For organizations located in a state like Florida, it’s important to know what to do when a hurricane strikes. There should not be a question about how essential data will be backed up, or who will be responsible for restoring key network services in the event of an outage. Having a comprehensive disaster recovery plan takes the uncertainty out of disaster preparedness. This isn’t just important for ensuring business continuity and data availability, but it also helps to ensure employee safety. The last thing a business owner wants is to have employees driving through a storm to retrieve a server from a potential flood zone.

Having a disaster recovery plan is an important part of risk mitigation. When an organization is called upon to show that they have the controls and policies in place to mitigate risk and protect essential data, auditors will expect to see a disaster recovery plan among those processes. Hurricanes have the potential to completely destroy an organization’s physical infrastructure with high-speed winds and flooding. If a business doesn’t have a plan in place to keep their operations running after their main offices are rendered useless by a storm, they will have difficulty retaining the confidence of customers and vendors.

But wind and flooding damage are only one part of the problem. A good disaster recovery plan takes a comprehensive view of risk, and considers how the second-order effects caused by a disaster could impact business operations. Even if an organization knows its data is in a secure location, how will the infrastructure around that location be affected? When Hurricane Harvey struck Houston in 2017, local data centers remained in operation throughout the storm, but were largely inaccessible afterward because key access roads were flooded.

 

Why is it Essential to Create Your Disaster Recovery Plan BEFORE Hurricane Season is Here?

When it comes to hurricanes, preparation is everything. Anyone who has lived through a hurricane in Florida knows that the best time to stock up on essential hurricane supplies is in the offseason when no storms are actually coming. That’s because when a named hurricane is approaching land, people rush out to stores in a panic to stock up on essential supplies. In their haste, they often don’t stop to think about what they actually need and end up making ill-advised purchases that won’t actually help them get through the storm. More importantly, the shortage of supplies and time makes it impossible for them to take some of the most effective precautions, such as installing hurricane shutters, or reinforcing their roofs.

Creating a disaster recovery plan is no different. One of the most important decisions for any disaster recovery plan is where to back up essential data and applications. Ideally, an offsite backup should be located in a secure and safe location that is protected from severe wind and flooding. For businesses located in coastal areas, having data backed up in a data center that’s located in the same flood zone as the main offices isn’t very helpful in terms of disaster preparedness.

Selecting an ideal location for data backup is an important process that should not be made under duress. That’s why organizations should evaluate their backup options carefully and make an informed decision about where and how to implement those solutions well in advance of hurricane season. Waiting until the last minute to arrange for data backup could result in a company executing a complicated data migration as a storm is approaching, which is hardly an ideal situation for anyone.

 

Gain Peace of Mind in your Disaster Recovery Plan by Working with DSM!

As Florida’s preferred cloud and data center provider, DSM has over 30 years of experience helping organizations throughout the Sunshine State prepare for the “not-so-sunshiny” days of hurricane season. Our data centers are positioned high and dry in geo-diverse locations well clear of FEMA-designated flood zones. Every facility features uninterrupted power supplies (UPS), N+1 power redundancies, and low recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) to deliver consistently high levels of uptime, even in a disaster. We work with leading data management software (Veeam, Zerto, and Commvault) to provide both physical and virtual offsite backups for your organization, allowing you to strengthen your disaster recovery plan without the need to invest in expensive infrastructure.

To learn more about how DSM can help your business prepare for hurricane season, contact our disaster recovery experts today.

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