How to protect your IT operations from natural disasters

We often think of data in abstract terms

However, all data is stored on physical devices, and when disaster strikes, data can be damaged or even completely destroyed. Because data is so important in the modern world, there are plenty of options for keeping it safe.

When category 5 storm Hurricane Irma set its path toward Florida recently, IT service provider UDT sprung into action to ensure their customers were able to enjoy absolute continuity of service. This involved moving full network operations to another location for customers, as well as protecting their own physical infrastructure. A “double whammy” according to Darryl Sicker, Solutions Architect at UDT

 The planning and the testing takes a lot of work. There’s a lot of assessments that have to happen beforehand to make sure all the applications are going to fail-over successfully. There’s a lot of underlying work that has to do with the networking and technology – but once you have that validated you’re able to fail-over into the public cloud.

We recently spoke to Darryl to find out more about how they managed to stay up and running in the eye of the storm. Listen below or on Apple Podcasts

Here are a few tips for planning your disaster recovery.

Know Where Your Data is

Important data often lies on multiple systems, and it can be easy to forget about critical data tucked away on older hardware. Create a list of your important data and where it’s located, and consider bringing in experts to audit your system. Keep your data backup plan in mind any time you add new storage.

Off-Site Backups

No matter how carefully you craft a disaster recovery plan, small oversights can lead to lost data. The only way to ensure your data is safe is to keep it at an off-site location, preferred in a distant area. As useful as on-site backups can be, there’s no guarantee a disaster won’t affect both your primary data storage and your backups if they’re kept in the same building or region.

Pre-Disaster Preparation

Some disasters strike without warning, but many, including hurricanes, wildfires, and most flooding, give at least a small amount of time to prepare. Focus on delegating responsibility for pre-disaster preparation, and consider running a practice drill on occasion. If an employee is on vacation while you’re preparing, ensure their backup is kept in the loop as well.

Secure Your Hardware

Downtime is costly, and lost data caused by power failures can lead to problems and lost revenue. Consider investing in raised floors if flooding or storms are a concern in your area, and decide if fire abatement is worth the investment. Don’t forget about physical security; looting is common after disasters, and keeping your equipment safe from would-be thieves can ensure you data survives on-site.

On an annual basis, disasters are fairly rare. However, much of the world is vulnerable to natural disasters, and lost data can spell disaster for businesses of all sizes. Take a proactive approach, as the cost of data protection and backup is typically a fairly small expense in the long term.

UDT are partners of Cloud28+, the open community of over 700 IT companies and research institutions, built to accelerate cloud adoption and digital transformation around the globe. It has members located across North America, EMEA, Latin America and Asia. Join free or find out more here.