Is Your Data Management System Prepared for the Next Storm of the Century?

For the majority of the country spring means a reprieve from frigid temperatures and a welcome to warmer days.  Spring is also the forerunner to one of the most notorious times of the year for inclement weather.  Don’t let the spring storm season leave your business data and networking systems in the dark.  It is time to buckle down and prepare for the real possibility that a weather disaster can strike at any time severing power, flooding facilities and crippling your ability to function at the most basic levels.  This is especially important if you find you’re located in a 100 or 500-year flood plain, like many of our Middle Tennessee clients.  Before spring storms hit consider what you can do to back up your valuable data and IT infrastructures.   

While it is important to focus on improved safety measures and preventing property damage during harsh weather, we would also like to consider the essential hardware tasked with managing your immaterial assets.  You can’t physically touch your data, but the servers managing your extensive network are more than vulnerable to Mother Nature’s fits of fury.  

As recently as this past fall we have seen how serious of an impact weather can have collectively – from a municipal to commercial level.  This past October Super Storm Sandy ripped its way through New York City knocking out data centers, leading to wide-spread web crashes and application failures for businesses and organizations in a huge geographic area. Those who did not have fail-safe systems or backups in place suffered helplessly as they made a mad dash at crisis control, addressing users experiencing outages on global level.  Though this is an extreme example, it still illustrates the importance of data center protection in the face of unpredictable acts of nature.

Storing spare servers in-house is convenient, but what are you doing to back up your data?  How much time and resources are spent making sure hardware is protected and data is recoverable? Will you be able to recover your data in a catastrophe?  How long will it take you?  If you are a small to medium size business, these are questions you need to be asking.  

The National Archives in Washington noted that 93% of companies that have lost their data center for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the event.  Half of those companies filed for bankruptcy immediately.  Simply stated, you cannot afford a data disaster.

There are a couple ways businesses can avoid losing valuable data and time in the wake of a nasty storm, flood, tornado or other natural disaster.  The answer will most likely point to a need for a more secure data solution.  As data management systems become more advanced, cloud hosting and off-site backups have become viable options.  Virtual computing allows for information to be stored and moved effortlessly from place to place in a matter of seconds.  Of course this does nothing for you if you do not have a weather emergency data recovery plan in place.  

If you decide to work with a data center (which we highly recommend you do) it is imperative they demonstrate that measures have been put in place to keep servers up and networks running.  A sound data center will provide backup generators, coupled with dual fiber feeds in multiple locations for optimal safety and reassurance.  All of this needs to be accompanied with an established plan of action.  Storms move in quick, you do not want to waste time to devising a business recovery strategy on the spot.  The key here is being prepared.   

In the event of a power failure or the next storm of the century – even if the earth opens up to swallow your building whole – an enterprise, off-site backup data center will help you save costs and sleep more soundly knowing your valued data is secure.

Sources: National Archives & Records Administration in Washington