The difference between protecting your onsite data vs. your cloud data & how to protect your business during a hurricane
With the recent swells of hurricanes hitting the United States’ southern geography, understanding how to protect your business data during a hurricane is integral to your current and future operations. Not all data is created equally, however, and how you store your data greatly impacts how you should protect your data. Below, zbrella outlines the best methods for how to protect your business data during a hurricane and how to effectively protect your different types of data.
Develop a Disaster Recovery Plan (DR) & Run Drills
The best way to ensure your business’ data is taken care of during a disaster is to make sure you have a fully fleshed out, workable DR plan that covers all types of emergency situations, from bad weather to power outages and malware attacks to human error. Working natural disasters, specifically like hurricanes, into an already fully formulated DR plan will allow your business to bounce back quickly in the event of any data loss and give you and your employees protocol to follow. This plan should include policies and procedures about employee safety, data protection, what to do in the event of data loss, business continuity outlines, and steps that can be taken if business facilities are damaged. Make time to schedule drills that test the strength and resiliency of your plan, keep it current, and employ desktop walkthrough exercises, operational tests, and simulated recovery exercises for optimal performance.
Decide Which Data is Important
While all your business data is integral, common scenarios include last minute scrambling at the turn of something as serious as a hurricane. Oftentimes, due to lack of preparedness and developing a DR plan, companies are put in the sticky situation of having to pick and choose what to save. You never want to find yourself in this situation, but if you do, instead of trying to backup all your files at the last minute, prioritize the data that will be the biggest loss to your company and take what you can.
Know Where Your Data Is and Where It’s Being Stored
If you want to truly protect your business during a hurricane or any other type of emergency situation, you need to know exactly what kind of data you have and where you have it. To double up on protection, oftentimes companies will store data on-site and on the Cloud. Sometimes companies will only have data onsite or only on the Cloud. Whatever method you prefer, you need to know where your data is to properly manage and protect it. Understanding how often your data is accessed and who it can be accessed by is also a necessary step of protecting your data, and making sure you have access to your data no matter where it is, on-site or on the Cloud, will give you an advantage when preparing for the event of an emergency like a hurricane.
There is no other better way to protect your onsite data than to back it all up. This is one of the most integral processes that should already be covered in your DR plan, and it is something you should be performing on a day-to-day basis to ensure your files are always current and up-to-date. Companies should absolutely have multiple copies of business-critical data in multiple forms. Backup your data to external hard drives, key drives, and hard drive enclosures to ensure optimal protection and make your most important data portable. Backup your data to multiple off-site servers as well, preferably outside of your company’s immediate area, that way if you are hit with something like a hurricane, you do not have to worry about your off-site data still existing within the affected area. Automatic backups are a great way to ensure your data stays relevant and that all employees have access to the most recent version of your business data at all times.
Secure a Backup Site
To double up on the protection, secure a backup site so that your company can continue its operations without hindrance. In the event of something as massive as a hurricane, having a dedicated space away from the impacted area where operations can continue is an efficient way to help protect your business, its data, and your employees. Include where and how employees should relocate to a backup site in your DR plan, and make sure to consider what you will need at a backup site, such as enough power feed, Fiber carriers, and other things to help you remain in operation. Backup sites are also a great built-in backup to your onsite data.
Is your company on the Cloud? Is your Cloud’s data centers within the affected area or somewhere outside of the affected area? Do you actually understand where your data is living? These are the questions you need to ask to understand the risk-value of your data stored in the Cloud. Because your data is essentially always tied back to physical machines, it is integral that you understand where your Cloud provider’s data centers are located, what their terms are in the event of an outage, and what you can do to ensure you’re protected. Know your Cloud provider’s emergency plan. This should include where they host their data, what happens if their power goes down, where they plan on moving their data in the event of a disaster, and what their general contingencies are. Also understand that storing your data in the Cloud doesn’t mean you don’t have to back it up just as you would backup onsite data and resources. Cloud service providers are not immune to failing and going down, so make sure to protect yourself fully.