Batten Down the Hatches –and the Servers– For Hurricane Season

Hurricane Season

Hurricane Ida recently wreaked havoc on the Southeastern and Northeastern United States. The torrential rainfall totaled more than a foot in some areas and caused the collapse of a highway in Mississippi and widespread flooding in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The Category 4 storm has not only impacted the lives of millions, but unfortunately resulted in the loss of life. But this wasn’t a solo event. Before Ida appeared on the scene, there was Elsa, followed by Fred and Grace. And now Nicholas is threatening the Gulf Coast.

Organizations Must Prepare for IT Disasters Beyond Cyber Attacks

Thoughts of securing IT infrastructure often center around mitigating threats from external attackers, as well as risks from insiders, including both malicious or merely well-meaning and negligent. But natural disasters are another threat which have the power to significantly impact your business operations. The devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy on New York City in 2012, among other locations, are well-known. Whether server downtime is caused by cyberattack or natural disaster, the costs are just as high. For 88% of companies, the average cost of server downtime is over $300,000 per hour, rising to more than $500M per hour for 17% of companies.

The Rising Threat of Natural Disasters

For planning purposes, we may think of disaster recovery as starting from the point where your building is a smoking ruin. Thankfully, annihilation from a giant meteor isn’t something we need to be concerned with. However, there has been an increase in the frequency and magnitude of natural disasters in recent years. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information, the U.S. has recorded $243.3 billion in damages the last three years (2018 to 2020), with 2020 seeing a total of $98.9 billion. For hurricanes in particular, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center predicted a 60% chance of another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season in 2021, which ranges from June 1 through November 30.

Failure to Be Prepared Can Have Long-Lasting Consequences

Many businesses have already felt the pain of downtime. According to research from Infrascale, 37% of SMBs surveyed said they have lost customers and 17% have lost revenue due to downtime. Unfortunately, the pain can have consequences that reverberate, even after you’re able to get up and running again. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) asserts that nearly 40% of small businesses fail to reopen after being hit by a natural disaster. One year later, 25% more small businesses will close, and three years later, 75% of businesses without a continuity plan will fail.

Do You Have a Disaster Recovery Plan?

TechTarget says that “a disaster recovery plan is a documented, structured approach that describes how an organization can quickly resume work after an unplanned incident.” Furthermore, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the disaster recovery plan is used when an enterprise must recover from a loss of capability over a period of hours or days.  

But how does a business begin developing an effective disaster recovery plan?    

The Ready Business Program is a Good Place to Start

FEMA’s, Ready Business Program moves organizational leaders through a step-by-step process for disaster planning. The program includes:

  1. Identify your risk
  2. Develop a plan
  3. Take action
  4. Be recognized and inspire others

These steps can also be applied to your Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) readiness.

Backup and Disaster Recovery Best Practices

  • Create a backup and disaster recovery “playbook” of processes and activities that will help keep your business up and running in the event of a disaster.
  • Establish your recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO). RPO refers to the amount of data (expressed as time between backups) a company can afford to lose before it impacts business operations. RTO refers to the timeframe after a disaster is declared until business operations are functioning normally again, with resources available for use. 
  • Make sure that your backup and disaster recovery solution is ready and available when you need it. Unlimited disaster recovery and failover testing and the ability to test backup image files are important factors in assessing the readiness of your DR solution. For example, the Infrascale Backup & Disaster Recovery (IBDR) boot verification tests the integrity of backup image files, providing proof of successful image recovery and boot, so you always know when backups are successful. and boot, so you always know when backups are successful.
  • Ensure that your employees know that a backup and recovery plan exists.

Learn More

Both the short term and long-term business impact from a disaster event can be significant and potentially cause business failure. If your organization does not already have a disaster recovery plan in place, now is the time to get started. Please schedule an appointment with an Infrascale expert.  


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