Disasters can be classified into two broad categories: foreseeable and unforeseeable events. A hurricane is a perfect example of a foreseeable disaster, since meteorologists can track the progress of storms as they form and grow in strength before making landfall. An unforeseeable disaster might be an earthquake, natural gas explosion, or other manmade disaster.
Ideally, your disaster recovery plan for it systems should protect against foreseeable and unforeseeable events. However, in the event of a hurricane or any type of severe weather, you have some time to ensure that everything is in order.
The scope of hurricane readiness is quite broad, and your business’ specific needs will dictate the focus of your preparation. However, most businesses today rely on technology in some capacity. The following disaster recovery checklist can help ensure that normal business operations can continue even if the technology you rely on is inaccessible or destroyed.
Hurricane disaster recovery plan checklist
- Be sure you have a usable backup
Most organizations have some sort of backup solution in place. Even if it’s not the newest backup technology out there, be certain that you have a clean backup of critical data before the storm. If this is a challenge with your current product, it is time to investigate a new solution. Obviously, two days before a hurricane isn’t an ideal time to deploy a new backup product. So, be certain that you have a clean backup of critical data using your current backup tool.
After the storm passes, make evaluating a new product a priority. Modern data protection solutions allow users to fail over business operations to secondary or cloud systems in the event that primary systems go down. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, this type of solution is worth considering.
- Conduct a recovery test
Conduct testing to be certain that you can restore data from your backup. Depending on the solution you have in place, this could mean different things. Some data protection products offer robust testing capabilities. If you are using a product with native testing tools, take advantage of them.
If the solution you have in place does not have native testing capabilities, devise testing to validate your ability to restore. Ideally, you’d conduct a full test restore, but this can be time consuming. If this is the case, spot testing file restores is much better than not testing at all. Recovery testing is the only way you can be certain that you’ll be able to restore data and applications following an outage.
- Shut down systems gracefully
Not every business has the option to power down systems before and during a storm. However, if you can, it may be worthwhile, because corruption can occur when computers are not powered down properly. If it is not an option to power systems down before the storm, you should have an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) in place. These products to keep products on briefly following an outage and automate the power down process to avoid data corruption. Again, two days before a storm isn’t necessarily the time to deploy new technology, but UPS is something to consider going forward.
Don’t wait to prepare
All of these things can, and should, be done in the days leading up to a hurricane. However, there’s no reason to wait until the last minute to start a disaster recovery planning process. If you live on the east coast, especially the southeast, take the time to make sure you are ready now. If you run into considerable challenges while you are preparing, make a disaster recovery overhaul your New Years’ resolution.