Weathering Hurricanes, Other Disasters: 10 Enterprise Best Practices

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2013-08-01 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    1 - Weathering Hurricanes, Other Disasters: 10 Enterprise Best Practices
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    Weathering Hurricanes, Other Disasters: 10 Enterprise Best Practices

    by Chris Preimesberger
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    2 - Take Care of Employees
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    Take Care of Employees

    First and foremost, your employees should know evacuation procedures, including where to meet and whom to contact after an evacuations. Offices also should have a basic emergency supply kit on hand. FEMA's Website shows what to include in your kit.
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    3 - Identify Assets Most Critical to Your Business
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    Identify Assets Most Critical to Your Business

    Before disaster strikes, determine which systems and applications are essential to your day-to-day operations, which data your employees and customers need the most, and how long your business can wait while it recovers from a failure or disaster.
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    4 - Determine What Factors Create the Most Risk for Your Business
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    Determine What Factors Create the Most Risk for Your Business

    Is your office at risk for flooding, or is the structure properly built to withstand hurricanes, earthquakes and fire damage?  In addition to these factors, you also must determine what else could cause downtime, and how much an hour or day of downtime could cost your business.
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    5 - Evaluate the Solutions You Have in Place
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    Evaluate the Solutions You Have in Place

    Are you able to virtualize your entire IT infrastructure off-site? Can your disaster-recovery solution be centrally managed? Do you have a dependable system that automatically backs up your most recent files? These are important questions to consider before disaster strikes.
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    6 - Evaluate Your Solution Provider
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    Evaluate Your Solution Provider

    In the event of disaster, you need to make sure your solution provider can protect your business information and eliminate IT downtime. There are some questions you should ask them. Do they have a disaster-preparedness plan of their own so they can help you during a disaster? Is their solution built on reliable hardware and software? To what extent are they dependent on other vendors for recovery services?
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    7 - Write a Recovery Plan
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    Write a Recovery Plan

    Clearly define and document the steps needed to recover your network and ensure employee safety. These steps should be posted around the office for employees to see, so they become familiar with the plan and should be electronically available on the company's intranet. As a best practice, hand out printed copies for key employees to take home with them.
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    8 - Regularly Test Your Recovery Plan
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    Regularly Test Your Recovery Plan

    Review your plan documentation on a quarterly basis with department heads, and be sure that these leaders review disaster-recovery procedures with their teams.  Live tests should be conducted at least twice per quarter.
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    9 - Document the Details of Your Test
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    Document the Details of Your Test

    Fine-tune your recovery plan by evaluating what went well, and more importantly, what didn't, when you do your quarterly tests. 
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    10 - Regularly Update the Plan as the Company Evolves
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    Regularly Update the Plan as the Company Evolves

    When changes are made to the plan, inform employees to ensure that the plan is still relevant to your business, particularly if there have been significant changes that may impact disaster preparedness. These changes could include individuals who are no longer with the company and have been assigned specific disaster-recovery tasks. Also, you'll need to plan accordingly for establishing backups in case the key people are not reachable during an emergency.
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    11 - Stay Informed and Communicate With Others
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    Stay Informed and Communicate With Others

    Many weather emergencies can be predicted, so stay current on local weather forecasts and follow updates from local authorities. You'll also want to ensure that other businesses in your network have their own disaster plans and determine how you will communicate with partners and customers when disasters strike.
 

Tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires or other natural disasters can bring an enterprise to a screeching halt when the office is damaged or destroyed, and critical infrastructure is offline. When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast last fall, it resulted in $62 billion in damages and economic losses from businesses that were not able to operate because of flooded buildings, power blackouts and damaged communications infrastructure, Justin Moore, CEO at Axcient, reminded eWEEK.  "However, there were several success stories, where firms had disaster plans in place and were able to leverage cloud-based disaster-recovery and business-continuity solutions to weather the storm. Dozens of IT providers in Sandy's path used the latest IT to spin up virtual offices in the cloud to keep employees productive while waiting for primary systems to come back online or be restored." These businesses had a clear emergency preparedness plan in place for their personnel and relied on technologies that can deliver real business protection exactly when it's needed. Taking into account what enterprises did to successfully weather Hurricane Sandy and other natural disasters, Moore shared with eWEEK the following 10 disaster-preparedness tips for businesses.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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