Hurricane Season and the Impact to Business

October 6, 2021

Tropical Storm Sam became the 18th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season where it’s predicted to have above average numbers. For the first time, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) began issuing tropical weather outlooks and forecasts on May 15 instead of June 1, as it recognized that severe tropical weather was forming earlier in the calendar year.

Hurricane Ida, a category 4 hurricane, left more than 1.1 million customers in Louisiana without power, including the entire city of New Orleans. It’s estimated that Ida will cost $95 billion, the seventh-costliest disaster since 2000; Hurricane Katrina currently tops the list at $320 billion.

Hurricanes not only often result in the loss of critical services such as power and communications, but businesses may also find it difficult for essential personnel to travel.

On the upside, however, hurricanes are also slow-moving events, and weather services do an excellent job keeping the public aware of when and where a hurricane may hit. This generally gives companies a few days to execute their disaster recovery plan and make the final arrangements necessary to protect their employees and assets, including critical IT infrastructure and data.

Build a comprehensive, integrated disaster plan

In light of these statistics, the need for a comprehensive integrated disaster recovery (DR) plan cannot be overstated, including ensuring your critical information systems are available and secure throughout the duration of the storm and its aftermath.

For example, if your company operates in a region prone to hurricanes, you may want to consider a business partner that offers disaster recovery services and data centers that are designed, operated and tested to maintain critical operations under the most adverse conditions.

Unfortunately, not all organizations have the necessary budget, expertise, or time to design and execute all elements required for a DR plan that fail-proofs their business—much less regularly test it for disaster readiness.

Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service

These limitations have led to the rise of Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS). Businesses increasingly turn to DRaaS to ensure business continuity in the face of a natural disaster or other deleterious event. With DRaaS, IT professionals can fail-safe their business-critical data, applications, and systems by working with a third-party service provider to deploy continuous replication of their IT infrastructure to a safe, secure, and dynamic cloud.

In implementing a DRaaS strategy, disaster planning and IT professionals should evaluate unique business needs and expectations, potential technological growth, and the business’ tolerance for recovery time objectives and restore point objectives, and then find a service provider that is able to craft a solution that meets both current and possible future business needs.

A robust DRaaS provider will offer the following features:

  • 24/7 “forever” support and guided process to help customers during a disaster declaration
  • Professional services team on staff to support DR readiness and complete end-to-end DR design
  • Portal with operational metrics, real-time status information and self-testing capabilities
  • Strategically located DR centers providing coverage near metropolitan areas
  • Support for on-premise, colocation and cloud environments
  • Near real-time replication of data
  • Recovery journals allowing up to 30 days point-in-time recovery

DRaaS providers are considered essential infrastructure services and are required to operate at full capacity with an experienced 24/7 staff which means that even if COVID-19 restrictions, you can rest assured that your backup team is in place and has you covered.

Protect people, then your data

As for hurricane season, remember than any disaster planning and business continuity plan should focus on securing the safety of people first. Once personnel safety is addressed, look at your most valuable assets and develop a comprehensive plan to protect them bearing in mind that hurricanes not only can cause flooding but also lead to fires due to damaged wiring and intermittent power surges.  For most modern enterprises, data is more valuable than gold. Protect people, then data, and then develop alternatives to keep people and data working no matter what is on the horizon.

David Kidd, Flexential

David Kidd

Senior Vice President, Governance, Risk and Compliance

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