As if the numerous tragedies and countless dollars in damage were not enough, Hurricane Sandy made sure to stunt the daily operations for a number of businesses along the Northeastern Region of the United States. Some companies were out of power for 16 days. Others were submerged in over 13.5 feet of ocean and flood water. Preventing these types of catastrophic impacts would be difficult for any business, AT&T and T-Mobile included, both of which suffered network outages.

As we watch these powerful companies being brought to their knees, one can’t help but wonder, “What can our company learn from this?” Well, there is no simple answer to that. It would be tough to run any company with 13 feet of water in the office. Whatever your company is up against though, it should have a disaster recovery plan in place. This doesn’t mean that your company can fend off a tsunami, it simply means your company knows what it will do in an emergency. This may entail disabling certain features on your website, or taking your network down for a short period.

Depending on your business, and which aspects are revenue generating, this disaster recovery plan can vary significantly. One measure of the plan, which is always a safe choice is to secure network infrastructure in remote data centers through server colocation. Basically, a company can access its data and handle web/network traffic, even if one of their primary server locations (or in-house network) is down.

Take The Huffington Post for example. They had their primary network at a downtown NY data center that was submerged in floodwater. One aspect of their disaster recovery plan could have been to failover, or move their network traffic to another colocation data center in a remote market such as Chicago, Illinois. This way, even though their NY city data center is down, their website could still run off of the servers and data which are secured in Chicago.

To better understand the concerns with disaster recovery and what an event like Hurricane Sandy can do to a company’s profitability, take a look at the infographic below. If your business relies on critical data, and is at risk to the impacts of natural disasters, securing your company with a disaster recovery plan is a consideration. -JM

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