Hurricane season kicks off every year on June 1st. In the past many years, the frequency and intensity of the storms predicted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have been categorized as above average. As the risk of storms increases, so does the risk posed to businesses in the region. Are you prepared?
According to a study by Touche Ross, 96% of businesses with a disaster recovery solution fully recover options. In 2020, a study by US Small Business Administration industry experts estimate that 40% of businesses fail to reopen after a disaster. With so many businesses being severely impacted by these failures, we’ve put together some tips to get your organization through each hurricane season and help you ensure your data is protected.
1. Secure Your Backup
Data is your organisation’s most valued asset. Without access to it, your business could be forced to close your doors until your systems are back up, severely impacting the bottom line. To protect your data, make sure your organisation has reliable backups in place. Contrary to popular belief, simply having a backup isn’t enough. Your backup should be tested regularly to ensure that it functions when you need it most. To be safe, ensure you have more than one backup (2 or 3 backups ideally), backup all files, remember to keep the encryption key handy, and test, test, test!
2. Don’t Fool Yourself - Backup is Not Disaster Recovery
Think seriously about your disaster recovery options. Many businesses believe that their backup is disaster recovery; this is a critical mistake. The goal of disaster recovery is to prevent interruptions to the organisation and allow businesses to restore operations to an offsite location or backup infrastructure immediately. This often means having an entirely redundant second location or hiring a managed service provider to offer you disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). If a hurricane destroys your IT infrastructure and building, simply having a backup doesn’t help much. Your business will have to order and rebuild your entire IT infrastructure before being able to operate again. Having a DRaaS solution in place or an entirely redundant second location ensures your organisation can be back up and running in seconds, if not hours, compared to weeks or months without one. Having a solid disaster recovery solution in place is extremely important moving into especially active hurricane seasons.
3. Categorize Your IT Systems
Are you aware of which IT systems and applications are critical to your organisation’s functionality? Classifying them by importance will help you prioritize them in your disaster recovery planning. One can use DRaaS solutions for those critical systems and use a backup for less critical systems or applications. For organisations that may have a tight budget and few resources, this may be the only option.
4. Review your Disaster Preparedness Plan
Your organisation may already have a disaster preparedness plan; the question is, is it up to date? If your plan does not reflect your current IT and corporate environment, then it may be time to revise it. Your updated disaster preparedness plan should include policies and procedures for business continuity, contingency plans in case of damage to your facilities, and employee safety.