Tropical Storm Karen Tests Data Center Disaster Plans

Disaster recovery has been at the forefront of attention in recent years, as one disaster after another impacts cities around the world. Tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes all have the power to disable a business’s operations for months…if they aren’t prepared.

In the few days Hurricane Karen threatened the Gulf Coast, data centers began bracing for impact. Fortunately, the storm weakened before it could do any damage, giving residents a reprieve. But even if this hurricane season passes without incident, the brief threat served as a reminder that data centers must be prepared at all times.

Most businesses who trust their server operations to managed service providers (MSPs) can rest easily. According to MSPMentor, 91 percent of all MSPs provider backup and disaster recovery services to clients. Whether you have your own IT department or outsource operations to a trusted provider, in the wake of the Tropical Storm Karen threat, it’s important to do a thorough review of your server operations to determine your data will be safe if Mother Nature focuses her attention on your area. Here are a few must-haves for your server operations.

Daily Backups

For the ultimate protection, your data should be backed up each day, with backups housed at multiple data centers. Your servers should offload your data to offsite servers housed in at least one other location, preferably far away from the first data center. If a hurricane takes out the entire East Coast, for instance, your second data center should be located on the west coast or the center of the U.S. This multiple-server system is called “redundancy.”

Access from Anywhere

One benefit to redundancy is that you’ll be able to be brought back up within minutes of a disaster happening. For this reason, your data should be accessible from outside of your firewall to those workers who will need access. For businesses using MSPs, this means choosing a Cloud-based solution, but for those with dedicated servers, this likely means VPN accounts. This access should be tested regularly to ensure it’s still available.

Website Backup

As you do a thorough disaster recovery check, don’t forget your website. What will be the downtime on it in the event of a disaster?

All businesses should have a disaster recovery plan in place that includes temporary workspace and key personnel who will answer phones during the disaster. When combined with data center services that promise continued operations, your business will be covered in the event disaster should strike.