After seeing the impact Hurricane Dorian had on the northern islands of The Bahamas, it's no surprise more and more organisations are growing concerned about where their IT infrastructure resides. Are you now worried about keeping your data in the Caribbean? In recent years, the frequency and intensity of storms in the tropics have left many second guessing if their data is truly safe in the region. Climate change has been increasing the strength of major storms, reminding us of the importance of proper data management. By implementing standard best practices, you can ensure your data is protected. Through better use of backups, disaster recovery sites and choosing the right managed services provider, your team can minimize the impacts of the hurricane season and other climate change related issues affecting your business.

Having an effective backup plan is necessary to protect your data. Having one copy of your data on site isn’t enough. On-premise data storage can pose many risks if your office is compromised by storm surge or Category 5 hurricane force winds, your data may be lost forever. During Hurricane Dorian, many businesses in the commercial zone on Grand Bahama Island in The Bahamas, were destroyed, many of which were outside flood zones and considered “safe”. Unfortunately, those with their data only stored on-site have now lost everything. Critical data should be stored in multiple locations, preferably across multiple islands to avoid catastrophic loss if an entire island is impacted as was seen during Hurricane Dorian. Working with a service provider that has data centres across multiple islands and countries is key to ensuring the resiliency of your organization.

Storms can close businesses for weeks and even months while they repair their systems, re-purchase hardware and reconfigure systems. With disaster recovery (DRaaS) in place, organizations can minimize downtime and get back online and running. Your DRaaS system can kick in automatically when your systems go down, providing you with zero downtime or can be turned on manually when the storm has passed.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, The Bahamas and other Caribbean nations are left thinking of ways to become more economically resilient to these growing storms. Protecting businesses is one of the first steps. When disaster hits, communities need employment to help repair and rebuild, so businesses must remain operational, or at the very least, require less to get systems back online. Data and IT infrastructure are two of the most critical assets to a business. As Hurricane Dorian bore down on The Bahamas for more than 3 days, Cloud Carib  efficiently managed to provide all clients with no unplanned downtime and continually monitored client systems from its Command and Control Centre in Nassau with no loss of connectivity or monitoring. Cloud Carib’s technical team remained on-site and on-call for the duration of the storm to ensure the Command and Control Centre remained fully operational to reduce potential client risk or exposure.

The Data Centre site in Freeport, hosting a Cloud Carib CaribPod, was at high risk throughout the storm. Cloud Carib’s team, combined with Operators, and major client’s representatives made an assessment and ultimately decided to perform a controlled shutdown of the facility as it was directly in the storm’s path on Grand Bahama Island. Moving any facility from active to lights out is a high risk and extremely complex endeavor. The controlled shutdown procedure required leadership to conduct and ensure mission critical systems remained online. This included configuration changes for some technologies to ensure critical systems maintained an operational and stable state via the primary Nassau Data Centre and its CaribPod located on New Providence Island. After the second half of the storm passed the Freeport Data Centre, an “all clear” was provided by the operator and communications were made to the affected clients that the facility was now safe and boot up was approved by all parties.

Hurricane Dorian left nearly all businesses in Abaco severely affected or destroyed and in Grand Bahama more than half flooded within the downtown, business district and commercial zones. Cloud Carib’s data centre in Grand Bahama (one of the islands most impacted by the storm) was able to stay structurally sound, maintained power through use of generators, and remained above flood waters. This level of service helped the Government of The Bahamas to keep their systems running and provide their citizens with critical services and protect infrastructure as well as pertinent data. By partnering with an IT service provider with a proven track record and a resilient infrastructure, your organization can strategically prepare itself for the changing risks associated with climate change.

Related blogs:
Hurricane Season: Is Your Organization Prepared and Your Data Protected?
5 Ways to Prepare your IT Environment for Hurricane Season