.Are you 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. With the devastating impact of Hurricane Dorian on the northern islands of The Bahamas, it's no surprise that more and more organisations are concerned about where their IT infrastructure resides. The increasing strength of major storms should remind 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.

An effective backup plan is a key element in protecting your data, but 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. During Hurricane Dorian, many businesses in the commercial zone on Grand Bahama Island in The Bahamas were destroyed, despite being considered 'safe' and outside traditionally marked flood zones.  Unfortunately, those businesses that opted for on-site data storage lost everything. For maximum protection, 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 with data centres across multiple islands and countries is key to ensuring the resiliency of your organization. Cloud Carib for example, has data centers in The Bahamas, as well as in Jamaica, Barbados, Panama & Ecuador which provides added data recovery and backup in the event of a disaster natural or manmade.

In the aftermath of a major storm, businesses can close for weeks and even months as the island recovers. For businesses, this could include physical repairs to buildings, and to their systems. It could also extend to the re-purchasing of hardware and reconfiguration of different systems. With a disaster recovery strategy (DRaaS) in place, organizations can minimize downtime and get back online and running sooner rather than later. 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 have had to find ways to become more economically resilient in the face of powerful acts of nature. 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.  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.

With a Data Centre site in Freeport, the Dorian posed a high risk to Cloud Carib's ability to host a CaribPod, throughout the storm. Cloud Carib’s team, combined with Operators, and major client 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 the island of New Providence. After the second half of the storm passed the Freeport Data Centre, and an “all clear” was provided by the operator, communications were made to the affected clients that the facility was now safe and boot up was approved by all parties.

When it was all said and done, Hurricane Dorian left nearly all businesses in Abaco severely affected or destroyed and flooded more than half of all businesses within the downtown, business district and commercial zones. Cloud Carib’s data centre in Grand Bahama 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