Like every year, the Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1 and stays with us through November 30 (National Hurricane Center). Last year’s season was defined by hurricanes Florence and Michael. But, it also featured 15 named storms and eight hurricanes, causing a total of more than $50.2 billion in damages.
This year’s hurricane season is predicted to be similar to last year’s. So, businesses along the coastal United States must prepare for potential damage from high winds, heavy rains and flooding. You need to start with boosting your backup and disaster recovery procedures.
The consequences of failing to do so can be a business-ending proposition for your organization, thanks to critical hardware or software failures. The severity shows that nearly 40 percent of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) don’t reopen after a disaster, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Refine your IT disaster recovery plan.
The primary goal of any IT disaster recovery plan is to maintain infrastructure, customer communications and employee safety in the face of a natural catastrophe, such as a hurricane. You achieve this crucial goal by preventing downtime and shortening recovery time. Strengthening data integrity and reducing the likelihood of data loss. And, fortifying infrastructure and data security, among other vital best practices.
Creating a bullet-proof disaster recovery plan requires your organization always follow these steps.
Know your assets. It’s impossible to reliably back up all your important customer and business data without first compiling a detailed inventory of all your IT resources. This includes desktop computers, servers, mobile devices and software applications. Because not all your assets are equally created, it’s useful to categorize them according to their priority. This must reflect how critical the assets are for your business to successfully run and grow.
Check your insurance coverage. Disaster recovery insurance provides the funds your organization needs to get back on its feet in the aftermath of a disaster. But, it’s necessary to double check that your insurance policy or policies actually do everything you expect them to do. For example, it’s easy to forget Business Interruption insurance only pays out if the cause of the loss is covered by the overarching policy.
Develop a data backup plan. Today, you can choose from a wide range of data backup options for your organization. This includes tapes, large-capacity USB drives, local network backups and various cloud backup providers. When developing a data backup plan, you must consider backup cost, frequency and security. Many cloud backup providers offer continuous data protection, automatically saving a copy of every change made to your data. This type of backup is ideal for protecting mission-critical, business-operating data.
Test your backups. You may already have a well-thought-out data backup plan. But, perhaps you’ve never tested your backup. Later, when needed, only then do you find out there’s a critical problem making data recovery impossible. Not only is testing essential for ensuring a successful recovery, but you must perform tests in the context of simulated and realistic disaster scenarios.
Remember your customers. When a disaster strikes, it’s only natural for your organization to focus on repairing infrastructure and resuming operations. However, you must never forget to keep your customers in the know. Treat them as equal business partners, who deserve to know what’s going on with the recovery of your business.
There’s no getting around it. Natural disasters like hurricanes are inevitable. So, without a complete and secure backup and disaster recovery strategy, your organization risks losing customer and business data. And, you can experience prolonged downtime, which can devastatingly impact the health of the business.
While there’s still time before a hurricane (or other natural or man-made disaster) may negatively affect your organization, it’s best to act sooner than later and guarantee your business holds a better position when disaster strikes.
Fortunately, organizations like yours don’t have to prepare for hurricane season alone. You can call on the services of managed IT providers like Vology, which offers dedicated backup and recovery solutions expertise, along with high-level manufacturer partnerships across the industry, to help you secure your business-critical infrastructure and data.