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Hurricane season is here. These harsh weather events can produce devastating high-speed winds, torrential rains, and microbursts, and can bring your business to a grinding halt. To address the threat of hurricanes, your company should have an effective hurricane disaster recovery policy in place.

What is a hurricane disaster recovery plan?

A hurricane disaster recovery plan is a written set of procedures on how to respond to a hurricane. Just like a standard disaster recovery plan, this policy contains steps that should be taken before, during, and after a hurricane, including:

  • How to anticipate and mitigate the effects of a hurricane
  • Emergency procedures to ensure everyone’s safety
  • Steps for restoring vital business systems and operations
  • Long-term plans for full business recovery

How to create a hurricane disaster recovery plan

While each organization’s hurricane disaster recovery plan is unique to its industry, the basic framework should contain the following:

1. Risk assessment
Conducting a comprehensive risk assessment will help pinpoint vulnerabilities your company must address. This lets you prioritize the most critical parts of your planning and help you shape your hurricane disaster recovery policy.

2. Preventive planning
While it’s impossible to stop a hurricane, anticipating and carefully planning for it can help prevent serious damage to your business. Think about how people board up their windows before a hurricane strikes. You need to take preventive steps to protect vital aspects of your business from a hurricane. This includes:

  • Backing up your data
    Data backup is an important component of any disaster recovery strategy. Even if a hurricane does not completely destroy your IT infrastructure, the disruption caused by the loss of huge quantities of data can lead to lost productivity and revenue.Having a robust data backup system allows you to quickly restore vital business data and minimize downtime caused by a hurricane. Examples of data backup solutions include:

    • Off-site backups – Storing copies of your backups in off-site data backup centers in areas rarely hit by hurricanes is an ideal solution. This ensures that you will have secure copies of your data even if your servers and computers are destroyed during a hurricane.
    • Cloud storage – Cloud storage lets you access your data and files remotely, as long as you have a stable internet connection. This allows employees to work from home in case your offices suffer severe damage.
  • Protecting physical assets
    During a hurricane, the biggest threat to your servers and other electronic equipment is flooding and water damage. Here are some ways you can keep them safe.

    • Avoid storing servers in the basement, as this is usually the first area that will be flooded.
    • Choose a storage room with no water pipes in the walls and ceiling to prevent water from leaking in.
    • Install flood detectors to warn you if water enters your facility.
    • Invest in turtle shells to protect electrical equipment from leaks.

3. Response
This covers the emergency procedures that should be taken during a hurricane to minimize the risk of injury to employees, such as:

  • Guidelines on how to protect oneself from strong winds
  • Where to take refuge if trapped in the building
  • Evacuation policies to ensure everyone’s safety

You should also include the names and contact information of emergency personnel to ensure all safety measures are carried out properly.

4. Restoration
This contains steps on how to restore critical business operations and systems after a hurricane, and who will be responsible for the restoration process. It should include clear instructions on what needs to be restored first, such as:

  • Data backups
  • Power
  • Network access
  • Servers and other damaged equipment

Conducting a business impact analysis will identify critical business systems and help you formulate an effective restoration plan that will get your business back up and running as soon as possible.

5. Recovery
Even if your company restores vital systems quickly, you still need a complete, long-term recovery plan. It should include details on how the company will fully restore operations to pre-hurricane levels. Here are some examples:

  • Repairing of damaged structures
  • Replacement of destroyed equipment
  • Relocation of business if needed
  • Returning the workforce to full capacity

Hurricanes are unpredictable, but having a disaster recovery plan in place will help you recover as quickly as possible. Talk to our experts today to learn more about disaster recovery planning.

If you’re concerned about any natural disasters putting you out of business, call us today. We offer comprehensive business continuity services that every company should have.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Data is everything to a small business in this day and age – which means if you lose access or control of your data, you lose everything.

As dramatic as that might sound, the data backs that up. According to several sources, 93% of companies, no matter how big they are, are out of business within one year if they suffer a major data disaster without having first formulated a strategy for combating it. And since 68% of businesses don’t have any sort of plan for that worst-case scenario, that means losing data would be a death knell for most of the businesses in the country.

Fortunately, your business does not have to be one of them. By taking the following steps, you can ensure that you have a rock-solid disaster recovery plan in place.

Step 1: Know How A Disaster Recovery Plan Is Different From A Business Continuity Plan

The main difference between these two types of plans is that while business continuity plans are proactive, disaster recovery plans are reactive.

More specifically, a business continuity plan is a strategy by which a business ensures that, no matter what disaster befalls it, it can continue to operate and provide products and services to its customers. A disaster recovery plan, on the flip side, is a strategy by which businesses can back up and recover critical data should it get lost or held for ransom.

So, now that we have a clear, concise understanding of what constitutes a disaster recovery plan, we can dive into the steps necessary to create one.

Step 2: Gather Information And Support

In order to get the ball rolling on your disaster recovery plan, start with executive buy-in. This means that everyone, from the CEO to the entry-level employees, needs to be brought in on executing the plan in case your company suffers a data disaster. When everyone is aware of the possibility of a data disaster, it allows for cross-functional collaboration in the creation process – a necessary step if you want to prevent breaches in all parts of your systems.

You need to account for all elements in your tech systems when you’re putting together your disaster recovery plan, including your systems, applications and data. Be sure to account for any issues involving the physical security of your servers as well as physical access to your systems. You’ll need a plan in case those are compromised.

In the end, you’ll need to figure out which processes are absolutely necessary to keep up and running during a worst-case scenario when your capability is limited.

Step 3: Actually Create Your Strategy

When everyone is on board with the disaster recovery plan and they understand their systems’ vulnerabilities, as well as which systems need to stay up and running even in a worst-case scenario, it’s time to actually put together the game plan. In order to do that, you’ll need to have a good grip on your budget, resources, tools and partners.

If you’re a small business, you might want to consider your budget and the timeline for the recovery process. These are good starting points for putting together your plan, and doing so will also give you an idea of what you can tell your customers to expect while you get your business back up to full operating capacity.

Step 4: Test The Plan

Even if you complete the first two steps, you’ll never know that you’re prepared until you actually test out your disaster recovery plan. Running through all the steps with your employees helps them familiarize themselves with the steps they’ll need to take in the event of a real emergency, and it will help you detect any areas of your plan that need improvement. By the time an actual data disaster befalls your business, your systems and employees will easily know how to spring into action.

So, to review, these are the quick actions that you and your employees will need to take in order to make a successful, robust disaster recovery plan:

  • Get executive buy-in for the plan.
  • Research and analyze the different systems in your business to understand how they could be impacted.
  • Prioritize systems that are absolutely necessary to the functioning of your business.
  • Test your disaster recovery plan to evaluate its effectiveness.

Complete these steps, and you can ensure that your business will survive any data disaster that comes your way.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Hurricanes damage property and put lives at risk. If you’re not prepared, hurricanes can also disrupt your operations and put your business through extended downtime. In this blog, we’ll help you quickly regain access to your data and get your business back to operational mode after a disaster.

Determine recovery hierarchy

Certain parts of your IT system are more mission-critical than others. Ask yourself which systems and/or data must be recovered in minutes, hours, or days so your business can resume operations quickly

For example, you may find that recovering sensitive customer information and eCommerce systems take priority over recovering your email server. Whatever the case may be, prioritizing your systems ensures that the right ones are recovered quickly after a disaster.

Pay attention to location

First and foremost, your backup site should be in a hurricane-free zone. Ideally, your off-site facility should be located at least 100 miles away from your main location. If this isn’t possible, make sure it is built to withstand wind speeds of 160 miles per hour (as fast as Category 5 storms) and is supported by backup generators and uninterruptible power supplies.

You should also request an upper floor installation or, at the very least, keep critical IT equipment 18 inches off the ground to prevent water damage in case of floods.

Use image-based backups

Unlike fragile tape backups, image-based backups take “snapshots” of your systems, creating a copy of the OS, software, and data stored in them. From there, you can easily boot the virtual image on any device, allowing you to back up and restore critical business systems in seconds.

Take advantage of the cloud

The cloud enables you to host applications and store data in high-availability, geo-redundant servers. This means your backups can be accessed via the internet, allowing authorized users to access critical files from any device. Expert technicians will also watch over and secure your backups, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of enterprise-level backup facilities and IT support.

Back up your data frequently

Back up your data as often as possible, especially during disaster season. If your latest backups were created on September 15th and a storm makes landfall in your area on the 28th, you could lose nearly two weeks of data.

Test your disaster recovery (DR) plan

After setting up your backups, check whether they are restoring your files accurately and on time. Your employees should be drilled on the recovery procedures and their responsibilities during and after a disaster. Your DR team should also be trained on how to failover to the backup site before the storm hits. Finally, providers, contractors, and customers need to be notified about how the hurricane will affect your operations.

As cell towers and internet connections may be affected during a hurricane, make sure your company forums are online and have your employees register with the Red Cross Safe and Well website so you can check their statuses.

It’s nearly impossible to experience disruptions during disasters like Harvey or Irma, but with the right support, you can minimize downtime. If you’re concerned about any natural disasters putting you out of business, call us today. We offer comprehensive business continuity services that every company should have.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE