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Weather threats can devastate your IT infrastructure. Is your organization prepared with a disaster recovery plan?

These sobering statistics show why you shouldn’t put it off:

  • According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40 percent of small businesses never reopen after being struck by a natural disaster. Another 25 percent fail within one year.
  • A U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) study shows an even greater number – more than 90 percent – of businesses hit with a disaster shutter within two years.

While you can’t stop a hurricane, earthquake, flood, blizzard, wildfire or tornado, you can minimize risk. The best way is to partner with an IT services & solutions provider like Trifecta Networks. We can assess, support and upgrade your IT infrastructure, as well as shore up your inventory with spares on the shelf.

How to prepare your data center for disaster

First, consider the physical location of your data center. If it’s possible to relocate infrastructure, do so. That means relocating the data center to a higher level in a flood-prone area, or a lower floor in an earthquake-prone region. If that’s not possible, take physical security measures. Virtualizing with Citrix or Microsoft Azure technology may be a great option for some infrastructure locations to help reduce the overall equipment footprint and risk of loss.

Another item to consider is an on-site set of spare equipment set aside for disaster preparedness. Trifecta Networks has unique sparing and rental programs to ensure you have the equipment on-hand for IT disaster recovery. This will help ensure that your organization or customers don’t have to wait hours or days to get up and running again.

In flood and hurricane-prone areas: IT systems are especially vulnerable to flood and driving rain. Put plywood or shutters on windows near equipment that can’t be easily relocated if water intrusion is imminent. Prepare to disable auto-restart features on essential IT equipment to avoid shorting. In flood-prone areas, consider investing in pumps to remove water and a backup generator.

Having the right power protection and conditioning products during stormy weather and within lighting-prone areas are imperative to a successful disaster recovery strategy. Manufacturers like APC and Eaton provide products for networking and computer equipment to ensure total power protection.

In wind-prone areas: Anchor rack-mounted hardware in case high wind enters the facility. Remove lightweight objects that could become airborne. Any outdoor products like access points and antennas should be securely mounted. Trifecta Networks has solid partnerships with some of the best manufacturers for enclosures, mounting kits and more

In wildfire-prone areas: Ensure your fire suppression system is in good working order, and be sure to copy data and store it offsite. Read more on that below.

In earthquake-prone areas: it’s likely your enterprise has invested in infrastructure built to resist seismic motion, such as specialized racks, bracing and cabinets. If not, Trifecta Networks partners with OEMs like APC and Panduit, which offer extensive networking hardware and infrastructure mounting/racking/organization systems that offer critical earthquake protection.

Have a natural disaster backup plan and practice it

Remember that redundancy is key to IT disaster recovery. Copy your data and store it in one or more secure offsite locations. Clone servers to the cloud if there’s enough time, but also consider other backups such as portable drives and old-fashioned hard copies. Veeam can be a great backup strategy that can be added to any virtualization environment. This and similar technologies can create always-on backup solutions to ensure that critical data is not lost during even the fiercest storms.

Hyperconvergence technologies may also give you an additional layer of protection from on-site servers or virtualization strategies. They provide a smaller hardware footprint while still offering the same robust services needed to support your organization in times of failure.

Finally, consider high availability units (HA) to prevent single points of failure during critical outages.

Overall DR strategies and tips

If your business doesn’t have an IT disaster plan, make one as soon as possible. Even more important, practice it. A recent Forrester survey estimates that fewer than 20 percent of businesses practice the recommended twice-yearly disaster drills.

Assign tasks to your team, such as monitoring equipment status continually. Make sure key employees have copies of mission-critical database information and server settings.

Finally, what do you do if you don’t even know where to start building an IT disaster recovery plan or unsure how to piece everything together? Call Trifecta Networks. We can help you design and implement strategies that make sense to your organization and your data.

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