Dylan O’Connor, CTO, Thrive Networks, A Staples Company
Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, blizzards – any one of these natural disasters could wreak havoc on a data center, leading to power surges, leaks or, worst of all, data loss. And if that happens, the consequences could be catastrophic. The Institute for Business and Home Safety reports that one in four businesses don’t reopen after a major disaster –demonstrating how critical it is to have plan in place to protect the data center.
However, that is a much easier task for substantial enterprises, which can afford to house servers on both the east and west coasts of the United States – guaranteeing data won’t be lost should a major storm strike one coast or the other. For small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), it’s much more challenging.
Tips to Prevent Catastrophe
The good news is there are some relatively simple things SMBs can do to storm-proof their data centers, avoid critical downtime and get through all kinds of extreme conditions or season. The first and most important step to take is developing a backup strategy. A strong backup and archival strategy is critical, especially in case of unanticipated down time. Since SMBs typically don’t have offices in various geographies, most can’t easily backup critical corporate data in various locations like enterprises can. However, what they can do (particularly those in storm-prone areas) is partner with a third-party data center provider for server replication in a different location.
Beyond a backup strategy, there are several additional steps SMBs should take regarding the protection of their data center:
- Make a plan – deciding ahead of time who will be responsible for what during a crisis will help employees remain calm and keep a business operating smoothly even in the middle of a natural disaster.
- Prevent power loss – a battery backup can allow SMBs to have an uninterrupted power supply, allowing for critical extra time to power down key equipment and backup data to a site away from the storm’s path.
- Detect leaks – water damage is almost a given when a major storm strikes, and can be extremely damaging. Sensors can detect a single drop of liquid and trigger an alarm (audible, emails or even via text message) to flag a potential problem.
- Prepare for power surges – lightning and power fluctuations should also be expected with a big storm. In addition to battery backup, proper surge protection guards for routers, hubs, computers, copy machines, etc. are key.
SMBs should think through these steps to prepare for any worst case scenario. Securing the data center is an important step in ensuring a business runs smoothly – through the good times and the bad.
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