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IT Readiness in the Aftermath of Disaster

In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, we have once again seen firsthand the unfortunate damage that heavy winds, storm surge and flooding from disastrous storms can cause. Before the storm, emergency management organizations throughout the affected area made plans and evacuated homes and businesses in preparation for landfall.

Some IT leaders were able to focus on making sure their employees and their own families were safe and prepared at home as they had prepared ahead of time for disastrous situations like Florence. On the other hand, there were likely many businesses that found they were unprepared and are now re-evaluating their readiness plans, backup solution, and checking their business continuity plans following the storm. Moving your data center to colocation facilities or moving business-critical applications to the cloud can enable your organization to focus its internal resources on core competencies versus worrying every time these types of natural disasters happen. 

Timing is Everything

If during the storm you were considering colocation, disaster recovery or cloud computing to protect your business from current disaster, unfortunately, you were probably too late. However, it’s never too late to prepare for the next hurricane, power outage or internal situation that could cause your business an IT outage.

We recommend that you start with our checklists and guides to help you evaluate your readiness for various disasters. Our checklists will help you with items to consider when planning to select a cloud provider or colocaton data center provider.  

Download the Cloud Provider Checklist

Download the Data Center Checklist

Download the Disaster Recovery Checklist

Download the Flood Preparedness Guide

Download the Winter Preparedness Guide

Even if you were someone who was sitting and watching the weather channel and crossing your fingers that one of these storms didn’t impact your community, you should still start evaluating your options before the next disaster strikes. Your timing may have been lousy for this past storm, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t start fresh in your future planning and preparedness.

Location, Location, Location

People ask our team why we located our data centers in places such as Columbia, Greenville, Asheville or Cincinnati. The primary reason is that these locations are known historically to have fewer natural disasters than coastal regions and major metropolitan areas. Our data centers are within convenient proximity of coastal regions and areas identified for frequent tornados, which makes our locations ideal for building a disaster recovery location or colocation data center/cloud provider.

Below is a list of considerations for selecting a colocation data center or cloud provider:

1.    Location – Selecting a colocation provider for your offsite data center that has minimal chances of natural disasters should be at the top of your list. The majority of data center, colocation and cloud facilities are built in areas with minimal chances of natural disasters.

2.    Onsite Infrastructure – Selecting a colocation/cloud provider with well-equipped backup solutions, including HVAC, fire, power, security is a critical element of your decision. You must ensure that your data center provider has disaster recovery plans in case of power failures, mishaps or other unexpected incidents.

3.    Reliability – This goes without saying, but your cloud or colocation provider should be bound by SLA (Service Level Agreements), which will guarantee your network uptime, power service and temperature stability.

4.    Viability – How long has the colocation provider been in business? What other services does the colocation provider offer: managed services, hybrid/private/public cloud, disaster recovery, SaaS solutions, security-as-a-service or other adjacent services to compliment your onsite data center? What is the financial position of the colocation data center provider? These are all considerations to make when evaluating the best provider for your business. Be sure to ask them for client referrals and to ask the references about their experience as a client, contract process, etc.

5.    Distance – The distance to your office or headquarters is critical in where you decide to house your colocated data center. You want to consider that if your on-premises IT team needs to visit the data center, they aren’t spending more than a couple of hours in the car driving there. Many facilities offer desk space for your team to work, so your operations stay online during an event. Ask your prospective provider if they offer such an arrangement -- it could make a huge difference to have access to power, internet and desk space in the event your office’s power is out for days to a week.

6.    Network Connectivity – At Immedion, we pride ourselves on our network connectivity, and our technical teams have put a lot of thought into how we deliver connectivity. Our team has put special care into what network carriers we buy connectivity from, ensuring our clients always have multiple paths of connectivity no matter what happens to any one of our carriers’ networks. You should compare data center providers’ connectivity plans -- how many network paths do they offer you in case one goes down?

7.    Scalability – Colocation, private cloud, hybrid cloud and public cloud all have different levels of flexibility when it comes to scalability. You should check whether the data center/cloud provider you are considering can scale with your plans. MegaCloud providers can certainly scale with your growth, but the cost of scalability may prohibit your growth at an unexpected expense. Be sure you look at not just your current requirements, but your three-year and five-year projections.

Disaster is Near

Even if your facility isn’t near the coast or in tornado alley, there are so many different disasters that have, can and will impact businesses. As a data center and cloud provider, we have implemented disaster recovery measures to protect our customers but also to protect our own tangible and intangible assets within our business. We have seen firsthand organizations that waited until disaster impacted their business, whether it was a natural disaster, unintentional data loss or intentional data loss event.

Even if you were not in the direct line of Hurricane Florence, take moments like these as an opportunity to evaluate your readiness for the next natural or human-made disaster threatening your business. Download one of our checklists above or start a conversation with our experts to evaluate your organization's readiness and explore the solutions you could put into place to prevent the next disaster from impacting your business.

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