This post was originally posted on GovDataDownload.com.
It seems like a week doesn’t go by without news of a catastrophic storm somewhere in the U.S. Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods…severe weather has become the norm rather than the exception. The damage and devastation these severe weather events bring is obviously a negative consequence; however, the upside is that we can learn from previous storms to prepare ourselves for what the future might bring. From an IT standpoint, lessons learned from data recovery and system restoration following severe weather events helps inform business continuity and disaster recovery (DR) strategies to help us prepare for potential future disasters.
I had first-hand experience with this when Hurricane Sandy hit New York City and a sizeable portion of the eastern seaboard in 2012. In New York City, everything below 30th Street had no power. Buildings and the subway tunnels were flooded and widespread power outages occurred. In many buildings, backup generators were located in the basement, meaning that flooding had wiped them out, making backup power impossible. People were unable to report to work because of the subway flooding, and even those who were set up to work from home were unable to because their homes were damaged or destroyed.
In terms of IT systems, the storm had a devastating impact. Email went down, as did many cell towers, making it impossible for many to use mobile phones or devices—assuming they were able to charge these devices with the widespread power outages. Companies were unable to communicate with employees. Computer systems went down at companies across New York City, and IT teams were, in many cases, unable to get to DR sites. For some companies, even once IT staff were able to make it to DR sites, they realized that due to poor naming conventions and lack of best practices in terms of data backup, they were unable to find systems to get them back online.
Obviously, the city eventually recovered from Hurricane Sandy and businesses returned to regular operations, but several IT lessons were learned in the process. As a result of these lessons learned, here are 10 things I recommend that every company do now to ensure they’re ready if disaster strikes:
As we know from enduring Hurricane Sandy and other severe weather events, they can strike at any time and wreak havoc on IT systems. There’s no time like the present to put into place systems and procedures for data recovery in the event of a future disaster.
Douglas Ross, District Manager, Government & Education Sales, NetApp