Many in southeastern North Carolina are still reeling from the impacts of Hurricane Matthew.
Not only did residents have to endure the winds and rain during the storm, the major damage and impact has also lasted days, even weeks, beyond. There are many individuals and business still under water as we speak.
Debriefing something before its effects have passed is probably bad timing, but I still think this is an important time to review storm planning and preparation when it comes to business IT systems.
Even with the most advanced forecasting, you never know where these storms are going to go. I’ll admit in the few days before the storm, I thought it was going to pass far enough south and east of us that the impact would be minimal.
Well, as we found out, the storm hit much closer to us. I think the takeaway is that we have to plan for the worse just in case the impact is much more significant than we expect.
At ACS, we manage our clients’ backups continuously. So, leading up to the storm, we didn’t really have to rush around and do manual backups; we simply checked our daily logs and addressed any minor issues. That’s important to note because, had we been frantically backing up systems, we never would have been able to get to everyone.
Now is the time to implement backup systems that run without human intervention. In other words, migrate away from having to manage external hard drives or other media. Rushing to get an external drive to take home with you just isn’t worth the hassle these days.
A few days before the storm, we advised clients who were in areas where power outages are common to shut down their servers prior to leaving work for the weekend.
Most were able to shut down with no issues but clients who still have email hosted on local servers were understandably reluctant to shut down because they would lose mail. Now is a good time to consider moving your email from local servers to the cloud. Whether via Office365 or another hosted platform, having email in the cloud is the way to go.
Many large organizations do have email hosted locally because of the cost. With the right battery backup equipment in place, we can mitigate downtime. Several of our clients also have onsite generators to supplement power outages.
Email is the lifeblood for most companies. Let’s plan now the best way to keep mail flowing, even in the middle of a disaster.
As many of our clients’ systems were shut down that Friday evening, we had our game plan in place to bring everyone back online in the most efficient way.
Beginning the Sunday afternoon after the hurricane, our techs were making rounds to get servers back online. Some folks were comfortable turning their servers back online themselves. We worked with them to make sure multiple servers were brought online in the correct order and that they had our contact information should they need help.
Instead of a chaotic Monday morning, the only clients who were offline were ones with no power or no internet connectivity. Our response plan was the best it could have been.
Finally, the ultimate in disaster preparation is moving all of your servers and services to the cloud.
There is a lot to this - you can’t just simply decide to move and expect to get everything set up in an afternoon. The migration takes time and the planning for something like that is extremely important.
Again, the calm after the storm would be a good time to consider - or reconsider - that option. Having an experienced partner to provide those cloud services and help you ultimately determine if this would be a good move for your company is key.
Please take a few minutes and debrief your own preparation for Hurricane Matthew. What worked? What didn’t work? What would have happened if Matthew had been worse?
To explore cloud services and ways to disaster proof your company, please give us a call. We’d love to work with you.
There’s a reason why so many organizations look to Atlantic Computer Services for the IT support they need to grow their business, and that’s because ACS provides honest, reliable, knowledgeable and friendly service. The company's goal is to serve as a technology partner, offering solutions that are affordable, uncomplicated and in the best interest of each individual client. Learn more about ACS, its services and its people at www.acs-ilm.com or call (910) 799-6538.
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