Protecting Your Business from the Next Superstorm

Superstorm Sandy created a living nightmare for Long Island's small businesses - $50+ billion economics losses and thousands more jobs lost. How can you protect your business from the next superstorm?

Just under a month since Superstorm / Hurricane Sandy created a living nightmare, those of us in the Long Island, NY area are starting to see some level of normal coming back to life.  We took one hell of a blow to an already fragile economy and infrastructure.  According to Governor Cuomo estimates show over 50 billion dollars of economics losses as well as thousands more jobs lost.  

Looking back, we learned that we can’t rely someone else to protect and revive our businesses.  We need our own plan to survive the next Sandy.  Big business knows that you can’t control everything and the only thing you can depend on is that you’ll be surprised.   So be ready to take a deep breath and have a plan to follow.

What do your disaster plans include?  From technology perspective, you should be able to answer these questions:

  • Business Requirements
    • Definition of a Disaster – What types of situations are applicable?
    • What is essential to running the business?
    • What is the priority?
    • What is the longest time we can be down?
    • How much information can we afford to lose?  (none? hour? day? week?)
  • Information Gathering & Preparation steps:
    • Who are the stake holders and who can declare a disaster?
    • Who is responsible for essential services? Who is their backup?
    • How do we archive data surrounding essential services and applications?
    • What steps do we need to take to store it out of harm’s way?
    • Where do we maintain a current contact list of all employees and vendors?
  • Engineering Planning:
    • What outside help do you need to restore operations? 
    • What computing, storage or network resources are required for each essential service?
    • For each essential service or application, what steps do you take to recover?
  • Facilities Planning:
    • Where do you restore operations should your facilities be unavailable?
    • Where do your people work? 
    • What Remote Access plan do you have in place for staff who cannot reach the facility or if the facility is unavailable?
    • How will you test that your plan works?
  • Communication Plan:
    • How will you communicate the disaster to your staff and set expectations?
    • What level of information will be communicated to clients?
    • Who will manage the communication process?
    • Will emergency use of outside vendors be automatically approved?
  • Recovery Execution:
    • Who will have the authority to execute the Disaster Recovery Plan?
    • How will you choose between restoring your facilities or using your vendor?
    • When and how will you transition back to your facilities after the disaster is over?

The document you create by answering these basic questions will develop the baseline for almost any technology disaster and with a bit of creativity allow you the flexibility to quickly restore operations to a cloud based datacenter without a single member of our staff needing to leave the safety of his or her home at minimal cost.

So think about it, will your company be open for business in the next storm – or are you still waiting for LIPA to call you back?

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