Worst-case scenario: How to survive a hurricane

Of course, everyone knows the Worst-case scenarios survival series. But, as an IT administrator, you also have to seriously think about wild natural disasters when you design your IT infrastructure (including replication, backups).

After all, you don't want your data killed by the next hurricane.

Here is a helpful link:

Servers and water won't mix, and if you're within an hour of a coastal watershed, solid preparation could make the difference between all right and all wet.

Last year, four hurricanes slammed the Florida coast alone, causing billions of dollars in damage, with nine hurricanes in total hitting the Atlantic basin. Currently, meteorologists are predicting this season to be as bad -- or worse.


The bottom line is, you're going to have to grab the bull by the horns, and that means making your own plans and preparations to minimize the damage:

  • Conduct walk-throughs of your organization's business continuity plan. Have changes been made since it was last reviewed? Distribute copies to all staff.

  • Encrypt your vital records. Recent glitches in the transport of backup tapes data have been on the rise. In the hectic hours surrounding a hurricane warning, the potential for tape loss may increase.

  • Decide what should be located at the hot site and map system interdependencies -- understand how infrastructure components work together and depend on each other in a remote location. Verify that all data connections are intact and working properly, and test the ability of your secondary team members to work remotely.

  • Verify the operation of the standby generator. Check that its fuel tank is full and that the fuel is uncontaminated. This should be done on a regular basis by the facility managers, but follow up with them.

  • Check in with outside disaster recovery vendors or suppliers; notify them of any changes in your situation or needs.

  • Make sure the building's grounds crew carefully trims all trees so they don't pose a threat to the facility. Ideally, there will be no trees close enough to the building to cause direct damage.

  • Contact your insurance carrier and review your policy. Ensure that copies of updated insurance papers are included in your disaster supplies -- and are stored at your hot site for protection.

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