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3 Tips to Prepare Your Business for a Natural Disaster

December 6, 2012 By Nicolas Dubus
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When you're running a tech-driven company, anything as small as a power outage or network malfunction can throw your operations for a loop, at least temporarily. When your business is located in a natural disaster hot zone where a hurricane, earthquake or tornado can destroy computer equipment and disrupt power for days or weeks at a time, a solid disaster recovery plan can make all the difference between getting back on track with only minor delays and never reopening at all.

Disaster prevention and recovery for retailers, who need constant communication with the world at large, is key. While most people are busy protecting their homes and personal possessions in the face of a natural disaster, IT professionals have even more to worry about: namely, how to protect their companies' hardware from flooding or potential impact, and how to resume business with the outside world again after the storm or earthquake passes. Some parts of disaster recovery can be tackled last minute, but it's always wise to have specific procedures mapped out and well-rehearsed far in advance.

Here are three tips for reducing post-disaster downtime and getting back to business with as little stress as possible:

1. Invest in off-site data backup. Even if you pull out all the stops to physically protect computer and network hardware, sometimes it's just not enough. In cases like this, it's invaluable to have vital data backed up on off-site servers housed in ultra-secure locations. High-security data centers are typically constructed to withstand water and high winds, feature state-of-the art biometric access systems, and offer the added protection of armed security personnel. Data is secure and available 24/7, so it's ready no matter what type of damage occurs to your in-house servers.  

2. Never underestimate the value of generators and solar power. Your company's servers, desktop computers and backbone cabling may manage to escape a hurricane, tornado or earthquake unscathed, but putting them back to work is impossible if you're in an area where power is knocked out for an extended period of time.

One way to avoid being dependent on overwhelmed utility crews to restore electricity is to install an on-site backup generator and/or solar panels that can turn on the lights and power network components even when the grid is down. Solar panels do double duty and offer extra value in times of nondisaster. Keep them producing even when you're running off the grid and in many cases you can sell the electricity generated back to your local utility company for a profit.



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