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In light of the recent hurricane in Texas, now is a great time to review your disaster recovery plan, and make sure that your business can still function if it finds itself underwater or destroyed by a natural disaster. It is better to have your plan in place prior to the hurricane warning, so you can focus on getting your family to safety instead of worrying about your business.

A good disaster recovery plan will cover the essential technology needed to keep your business running efficiently. This usually means it will cover your hardware, your data, and your software applications.

Your Hardware

It doesn’t have to be a natural disaster that destroys the important hardware in your office, but you should be prepared for both. A natural disaster could destroy your entire server room, whereas a hardware failure could be limited to a single device. Hardware failure will happen over time. It’s just the nature of technology. Nothing lasts forever. At some point, you will experience a hardware failure, and hopefully, it’s not related to the entire building being destroyed. In either case, you will need to weigh the costs of being down for any significant period of time. If your business will lose thousands of dollars an hour when the server is offline, having a redundant server in the cloud would be the smart way to go. Having a backup server ready to take over in case of an emergency can be expensive, so it will be important to compare the costs of being down to the cost of the backup.

Your Data

As more people move to cloud based services, the cost of an onsite server being down for an extended period of time is becoming less of an issue. Your company’s data, on the other hand, will always be essential. Data could consist of customer databases, accounting information, files, and more. This data is the result of years of business operations and would be devastating to lose. Even when this data lives in the cloud, keeping an onsite backup is essential. Make sure your backup lives in two locations. One would need to be on a separate device from the data itself inside the office, and another in an offsite location. Going back to our hurricane example, if your data backup is in the same location as the destroyed office, it will not be able to be recovered.

Your Software Applications

If the software you are using is something that is physically installed on each workstation, make sure you have a backup of the installation media. In case of a disaster, you will want to be able to get the software installed on new devices as quickly as possible. Many software applications now reside in the cloud. This makes it easy to think that nothing could ever happen to the application, and your data and your company are safe. As we found with the AWS outage earlier this year, nothing is ever safe. You should have a plan in place that outlines what you will do if you no longer have access to that application. You should also perform regular backups of your company data within that application, just in case they experience a catastrophic failure, or go out of business.

With these 3 areas covered you will be in a good place to handle any natural disasters that could come your way. If you are interested in helping the victims of Hurricane Harvey, please consider donating to the RedCross.