Thoughts on the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season and Business Continuity.

Plan for Continuity. Safeguard your business. Recover from disaster.

by Ryan McKee / May.30.2018 / 10:30 AM ET

On April 16th, researchers at North Carolina State University reported the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will be significantly more active than average. "The season should see 14 to 18 tropical storms and hurricanes forming in the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea", said Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences. Since 1950, the average for named storms in a year has been 11. Of those named storms, seven to 11 may grow strong enough to become hurricanes, with the possibility of three to five storms becoming major hurricanes.


The 2017 Hurricane Season was the most expensive in U.S. History. $200 billion worth of damage from 17 named storms during the season, which began June 1 and ended November 30. The last time a storm season even came close to that amount of damage was during the summer of 2005, when Hurricane Katrina inflicted massive devastation on New Orleans and the greater Gulf Coast. 


 

Some interesting (and startling) facts about small to medium sized businesses from FEMA and Nationwide Insurance:

  • Nearly 40% of small businesses close after a disaster
  • 75% of small businesses do not have a disaster recovery plan in place
  • 52% of small businesses say it would take at least three months to recovery from a disaster
  • Only 18% of companies surveyed that have fewer than 50 employees have a disaster recovery plan
 Photo by behindlens/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by behindlens/iStock / Getty Images

 

What Can I Do to Protect My Business?

Planning for business continuity and having the correct services in place is a lot like a homeowner’s insurance policy. You hope to never have to use it, but when the unthinkable happens, you'll be thankful you took it out. A lot of small to medium sized business owners we talk to aren't even sure what data or network appliances they have that are being backed up or protected -- if any at all. We've come up with a few questions you can ask yourself to be prepared when shopping for a backup plan that can work for you.

 

What data or Appliances do we have that are critically important?

Determining what data or network appliances you have that would be critically important during a power outage is the first step.

The most common types of data that would cripple any business if lost or corrupt are customer records and information, your business's financial information, and, any data pertaining to your operations and personnel. Having a backup drive stored on site is a great solution for when your local drives fail, but in the event of a building-wide disaster, the last thing anyone will be thinking about is grabbing that drive on the way out the door. Having a reliable and affordable cloud-hosted backup and disaster recovery (BDR) plan in place is an absolute must-have, and with storage prices getting cheaper by the day, any sized business can now find an affordable and high-quality solution.

 

are any of these already being backed up and how much space will i need?

The amount of data you would need to protect will help determine the best fit, and with storage prices getting cheaper by the day, any sized business can now find an affordable and high-quality solution.

Some of your data may already be stored on the cloud and you may not even know it. The most common situation that we see in the field is corporate e-mail. Most companies ditched their on-site Exchange servers for Microsoft Office 365 years ago. (If you haven’t, please contact us to see if it’s the right time to move your e-mail to the cloud!) It’s important to know what pieces of your data puzzle are already being saved and where they’re being saved, so in the event of a disaster you know exactly where to go to get the pieces back, or better yet, a single solution or company for all your continuity needs.

Looking at those statistics above, 52% of respondents said it would take at least three months to recover from a disaster. Backing up critical data to a cloud-server is an excellent fist step to reducing the recovery time frame. A lot of that 3-month recovery figure is due to the time it takes to restore employee workstations and servers in the event that they were damaged or destroyed. Having a fully redundant and system that can store, protect, and re-image an entire company could potentially reduce restoration time from three months into three days!

related: Kaizen BDR

 

How much up-time do we need for critical systems?

A considerable amount of any business's start up capital was likely spent on your networking appliances such as switches, routers, workstations and if you have one, a server. Making sure these critically important devices are protected from power surges, blackouts and temporary brown-outs is just as important as backing your data up, though often times overlooked. Sudden loss of power and power surges are two of the principle causes of damage to computers and other sensitive electronics.

Something we see very often when doing site surveys are older or under-powered battery backups being used in the data room, and more often than not, only a few devices are being routed through the device rendering it useless. Even more often we see employee workstations with no UPS and with power strips in their place. Inexpensive power strips will do a decent enough job protecting against the power surges, but they offer no protection against drops in line voltage, brownouts, blackouts, and other power supply issues, and a vast majority of hardware failures can be directly attributed to the stress hardware components experience during the shut down and startup process, especially if power surges or blackouts are involved.

A UPS unit would provide a window of time where your computer could be properly shut down or sent into hibernation mode and brought back online once the power event was resolved. If the event is resolved while the UPS unit still has enough battery life remaining, then you can work right through it with zero downtime! Additionally, many UPS units we recommend come with software that can detect when the unit switches to battery power, and shut the workstation down automatically if the event were to occur while the user was away.

 

What solutions can netwurx offer my business?

With the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season already upon us, spending the time to vet companies to handle your sensitive data may seem futile. Referring again to the statistics above, 40% of small to medium sized businesses actually close after getting hit with disaster.  We've spent countless hours vetting the top names in the industry so you don't have to and are able to offer fair and competitive pricing for BDR, wireless LTE failover and managed power solutions, all on one bill.

We've partnered with AT&T and Verizon to provide you with total connectivity. Kaizen's SureLink ensures business resilience in the event of catastrophic disruption by rerouting all of your internet traffic to carrier-provided 4G LTE signal. Maintain availability of the internet for all of your business operations and improve your organization’s overall resiliency during temporary outages. Kaizen BDR provides world-class storage with round-the-clock security in data centers located on three continents. These data centers’ certifications meet all requirements for HIPAA compliance and other legal and regulatory standards, are ISO 27001 certified and have a 99.999% uptime. Users can also select their preferred level of encryption: AES 128-bit, AES 256-bit or 448-bit Blowfish. Ensuring business continuity requires a fast and proven recovery process. Kaizen BDRs Bare Metal Recovery system simplifies and reduces the recovery time for an existing installation to a new hardware platform and its Virtual Disaster Recovery automates a full system restore to a Hyper-V or VMware hypervisor.

 

 

For more information, please contact us and schedule a free Business Continuity Consultation today!