As many citizens of our country sit in the wake of Hurricane Harvey cleaning up and putting their lives and business back together millions of others are glued to their televisions watching for the latest updates on the incoming Hurricane Irma, including myself.
I am on the brink of leaving for week to not so sunny Florida where I will be greeted by a potentially disasterous situation. Thinking about the potential disaster planning that may have to occur to get the wedding venue changed last minute or the multitude of people’s plane flights (including the groom), whose travel plans may be affected, made me consider how these events are handled in disaster prone areas of the United States.
Downtime is costing North American businesses nearly $700 billion annually. However, most small business’ disaster recovery plans are there for the quick emergency hardware failure or the slim potential that a fire or flood may strike. But what are businesses doing in these areas that are especially prone to natural disasters like the gulf states or southern Atlantic?
Server and data center collocation is becoming increasingly popular among small businesses. Enterprises have been in this game for years hosting their disaster recovery environments within secure data centers like Switch whose technologies, patents and procedures will keep your infrastructure safe from even the most menacing of events. In many instances you can eliminate nearly all of your onsite hardware by hosting your infrastructure.
Maintaining server image backups in a geographically separated region from your operations is another great way to keep services and business functions active in the wake of a major disaster. While there is some time and effort that will be required in order to get your critical systems back online, the advantages outweigh the efforts in rebuilding from scratch.
Document your procedures. In situations like this you will likely be separated completely from your workforce. People are displaced to locations far from the storms reach due to the millions of people that are having to flee. Without having direct management of your staff they will need to know what to do and when to do it, which is why having a documented plan with individual responsibilities is extremely important and can speed up the time in which it takes to become remotely operational.
FEMA’s statistics indicate that nearly 40% of small businesses close after a disaster. Additionally, another survey conducted in 2015 of 500 small business owners reported that 75% of them did not have a disaster recovery plan in place. Make sure you are planning ahead for your business, get your business continuity plans drafted, roles assigned and make sure your business can ride out even the toughest situations.