The National Hurricane Center projects that Hurricane Florence will make landfall in the North and South Carolina coastal regions as a major storm this week.

If you are in an impacted area, review available disaster preparedness information and perform proactive disaster recovery testing to mitigate potential downtime. Ensuring business continuity during disaster events is crucial. Right now is the time to prepare for disaster recovery triage of IT infrastructure if you are in a soon to be impacted area.

Hurricane Florence, a churning and developing Category 4 storm that continues to strengthen, is bearing down on the North and South Carolina coasts, forcing residents and visitors to evacuate. Every business in the path of Hurricane Florence needs to prepare for the worst. Those that don’t may never fully recover from such a disaster. Florence is packing maximum sustained winds of 130 mph as of Tuesday morning. Forecaster are reporting winds could reach nearly 150 mph by Tuesday night or Wednesday, just shy of Category 5 strength.

The storm is expected to make landfall along the North Carolina coast Thursday night.

Unfortunately, Hurricane Florence has the potential to cause massive damage to parts of the southeastern and mid-Atlantic United States, according to officials. More than 1 million people face mandatory evacuation orders Tuesday in coastal areas of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, as one of the strongest hurricanes to churn toward the eastern seaboard in decades, approaching Category 5 strength, nears the coast.

Hurricane FlorenceHurricanes and coastal storms wreak destruction through a combination of high winds and heavy rain. They may also be accompanied by surging tides that flood that affected area with salt water.

Hurricanes and coastal storms impact business in three primary ways:

  • Direct damage to operating facility due to high winds, flooding, and objects such as tree limbs and debris that become high-speed projectiles capable of smashing through windows, roofs and other structural elements.
  • Extended power outages, road closures, and other lasting damages can put a business facility out of commission for a week or more.
  • Regional impact can affect customers, suppliers, and business partners, as well as the homes of employees.

About a dozen named storms occur along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts each year. Major disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, and now the impending Hurricane Florence, underscore the potential damage that can result when such events strike population centers. Businesses usually have significant advance warning of an approaching storm. However, because storm paths are notoriously difficult to predict, these warnings can often be false alarms. All businesses, especially those operating in storm or hurricane-prone areas, should be prepared for anything.

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Hurricane Florence Preparedness Tips

  • Make sure that all active production machines are protected and backing up. Also, make sure that recent backups were successfully replicated offsite for each production machine.
  • Check that all recent screenshots for each production machine show a full boot of the host OS. Successful screenshots are your proof that a production machine will virtualize and restore in the event of a disaster.
  • Make sure that any site you, your technician, or your end-users evacuate to has power generation, Internet, and cell phone connectivity. If possible and if necessary, take your appliances to the alternate site with you.
  • If you work with an MSP, make sure they have proof of your daily backups. While an email alert or report after a backup can ensure the backup was taken, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a backup is functioning properly. To determine this, you have to start the backup as a virtual machine and ensure it works.
  • Another option would be to have daily screenshots that prove your backup worked. A screenshot will be emailed to you or your MSP, showing the login screen of whichever machine was backed up. These aren’t screenshots of your actual machine – they’re screenshots of your backups! The ultimate proof that your system image is backed up and recoverable.
  • Ensuring network continuity is critical – the continuity of your IT infrastructure is your greatest mission in terms of protecting your company’s assets.
  • If you are in the cloud (hopefully you are leveraging cloud virtualization or hybrid virtualization) your onsite-business continuity devices should be checked to ensure they are capable of recovering to recover your data in seconds right from the device itself.  The cloud-to-onsite location (to check download speeds and effects on resources) and offsite-cloud virtualization, also known as disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) should be reviewed to ensure all is working at peak efficiency.
  • Additionally, protect your internet! Having redundant internet providers can help protect your connection to remote services in the event of a disaster. For best practices, have different providers for your backup line – redundancy is critical.

Keep in mind, hurricanes and coastal storms can put a data center out of commission for a day, a week, or permanently. All businesses, especially those operating in storm or hurricane-prone areas, should be prepared for anything. Preparation should include the ability to restore IT operations in the cloud and/or at a site sufficiently further inland from the coast to be unaffected by the storm, as well as continuous off-site backup of data, applications, and server images.

For any business in the direct path of Hurricane Florence, the ability to restore IT operations in the cloud and/or at a site sufficiently further inland from the coast to be unaffected by the storm is critical. This restoration may require evacuation of key IT personnel out of the storm so that they can continue to work remotely from their laptops even if the area’s mobile data services are interrupted. Remember, businesses increasingly work in tightly interdependent networks of suppliers and partners. By working collaboratively, businesses can make themselves even more resilient and well-protected against disasters … large and small.

Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Tips

A Message To Our Customers

Hurricane Florence is closing in on the east coast and forecasted to be a major threat to North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. CompuData maintains a high level of readiness at all times to ensure that our operations, as well as operations of our customers, are not impacted.

For those customers with a CompuData Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (also known as BCDR or Datto) solution, your backups are monitored and replicated offsite for protection. Additionally a disaster response team (DRT) has been activated for direct support of these devices. The DRT is staging in Richmond, VA in preparation to assist affected businesses. CompuData support technicians are standing by to support you and your IT needs through the storm and after.

If you have any questions about Hurricane Florence, disaster recovery, or other CompuData services, please contact us at www.compudata.com/contact/ or 1-800-223-3282 and follow the options for support.