Extreme Weather Contingency and Disaster Recovery Planning
The months of torrential rain have somewhat sullied the summer for UK residents, but it is the damage caused by extreme weather conditions that will leave a lasting impression on businesses.
With so much rain dumped on many areas of the country, often in a matter of hours, streets have been flooded, property damaged and hardware taken offline for good. This has forced many companies to reconsider the disaster recovery plans that they have in place so that such circumstances are as minimally disruptive as possible.
Larger corporations arguably have the most to lose in the event of extreme weather, since downtime can result in huge losses, both in financial terms and when it comes to customer confidence. However, bigger companies are also in a better position than many to actually put contingencies in place so that inclement conditions are not the end of the world and business continuity can be preserved whatever the weather.
While it is not necessarily feasible to conceive of a business that is completely disaster-proof, there are several steps you can take to shore up your recovery plan and make it more effective if it ever needs to be put into action.
Being able to recover after a disaster relies on preserving the core assets of your business, which for many modern companies will mean looking after data.
Of course, on-site back-ups can be easily damaged if extreme weather influences your place of work, so relying solely on this type of solution is not sensible. Instead, outsourcing back-up and storage responsibilities to a third-party provider, with a remote storage location chosen to hedge your bets, will put you in a good position.
The power of cloud computing is increasingly being harnessed by major companies in order to offset the cost of storing the vast amounts of data that need to be safeguarded and, in the event of a disaster, restored to keep a business on its feet.
You do not have to rely on a public cloud solution if this is not in keeping with company policy, as it is possible to rent out server space and use your own equipment at a remote location, putting the responsibility for the physical integrity of your data storage in the hands of a third party while still retaining control over it.
Being able to continue operating in a way that is independent of your main headquarters is perhaps the best way to prepare for extreme weather, because whether Mother Nature sends floods, storms or harsh winter conditions, getting into the office can sometimes be a problem, let alone getting systems up and running once you are there.
Data storage that is not tied only to in-house hardware is one way of achieving this, but companies will also need to handle telecommunications if they want to remain in the loop and operational.
With modern IP-based voice solutions and non-geographic numbers (NGNs) it is possible to route inbound calls to any number of extensions and devices, whether they are located in the office, at home or in the pockets of employees.
You might also want to be able to reroute calls to a secondary centre or location if your business operates across multiple sites to take the load off the compromised property.
Extreme weather is a fact of life for many businesses, albeit one which is quite rare in the UK. However, the flooding of recent weeks should be seen as a learning process for all companies, irrespective of their size, since it indicates just how important it is to have a disaster recovery plan in place to avoid being terminally damaged by some of the more extreme effects of nature.
If you need to back up your data or ensure your workers are able to work from home due to the British weather Daisy Group plc have helped organisations of all size do this for over a decade