Axcient, a provider of cloud-based IT infrastructure solutions, is offering tips to help businesses successfully manage hurricane season.
An estimated $62 billion in damage was caused during hurricane Sandy last fall. The loss was mainly caused due to businesses’ inability to operate from flooded buildings. Power blackouts and damaged communications infrastructure also added to the damage, said Justin Moore, CEO at Axcient.
However, several firms managed to survive the disaster thanks to the effective disaster management plans adopted by them. Cloud-based disaster recovery and infrastructure management solutions helped them manage the crisis in an effective manner.
Axcient has helped a large number of IT providers in Sandy’s path to spin up virtual offices in the cloud to keep employees productive while waiting for primary systems to come back online or be restored, according to Moore.
The company has outlined 10 disaster preparedness tips that can help companies prepare and respond to disasters, while keeping their business up-and-running and maintaining vital revenue.
First, businesses should take care of their employees and learn about evacuation procedures including where to meet and whom to contact after an evacuation. They should be ready with a basic emergency supply kit on hand.
Businesses should identify which systems and applications are essential to their day-to-day operations, which data their employees and customers need the most, and how long their business can wait while it recovers from a disaster.
They should also identify the factors that create the most risk and the factors that could cause downtime, and how much an hour or day of downtime could cost their business.
Next, businesses should evaluate the solutions they have in place. They should identify whether they are able to virtualize the entire IT infrastructure off site and whether the disaster recovery solution can be centrally managed.
Companies should also evaluate their solutions providers. They need to make sure their solutions providers are capable of protecting their information in emergency and eliminate IT downtime.
Axcient also suggests businesses should clearly define and document the steps needed to recover the network and ensure employee safety. They should post these steps around the office for employees to see, so they become familiar with the plan, and it should also be electronically available on the company's intranet.
As part of disaster preparedness, businesses should review their disaster preparedness plan on a quarterly basis with department heads. Live tests should be conducted at least twice per quarter.
As the next step, businesses should evaluate the test results to identify what went well, and more importantly, what didn't, so they can work on them immediately.
After making the necessary changes in the disaster preparedness plan, the company should inform its employees.
Last but not the least, companies should stay informed and communicate with others. Many weather emergencies can be predicted, so companies need to stay current on local weather forecasts and follow updates from local authorities.