Hurricane Season is Here. But Are Storms IT’s Biggest Disaster Recovery Worry?

Disaster Recovery

Parker July 31, 2017

What to do when an IT crisis hits


Residents of coastal areas of the U.S. will soon be getting their annual dose of advice from local news and other sources on how to prepare for and survive a hurricane. Given the experience of Superstorm Sandy—which led to diesel bucket brigades to keep Squarespace and other operations up—the arrival of hurricane season will also compel many IT pros to address disaster recovery planning in case they get hit.

But that doesn’t give a free pass to those far outside Hurricane Alley. The fact is, stuff has a way of happening.

Like monkeys. In 2015, the entire country of Kenya lost electricity when a wayward monkey fell onto a transformer. The blackout affected 4.6 million households and businesses, with some going without power for hours.

Then there was the squirrel that took down half of Yahoo’s Santa Clara data center. And the mice that caused 4,000 Swedish telecommunications customers to lose service for two days.

But it happens to the best of us—really. When a weasel can shut down the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s most powerful scientific instrument, none of us should consider ourselves 100% protected.

And it’s not just animals causing headaches. A spate of ships anchors cutting underseas Internet cables wreaked connectivity havoc across Asia and the Middle East. An Australian data center was sidelined by a tossed cigarette. And one Czech router error sparked a global internet meltdown.

The point is, anything can happen and eventually will, somewhere. Most likely to cause failures are cooling system problems. Electricity issues, however, result in more downtime because of the engineering support required. But whenever your equipment fails, know that Park Place Technologies will be there to make sure you’re running on maximum uptime.

So, what can you do in the meantime? The key is to have in place a plan to deal with any of these problems—and others you haven’t even considered—as quickly and effectively as possible. Sadly, many organizations just aren’t as prepared as they think.

In fact, Data Center Knowledge just reported that even in 2017, two-thirds of data center outages are related to processes. They recommend some best practices for the top three disaster recovery “offenses”:

  • Match facility staff size and shift coverage with uptime expectations. This should usually involve two individuals on every shift.
  • Employ a site-specific training program and coordinate monthly emergency response training for all team members, which should include hands-on practice with problem isolation, maintenance activity, and restoration.
  • Assign ownership of site-specific procedures to one team member who can develop and update the critical procedures and ensure they are technically accurate and clearly understood by every member of the team.

Although it can be difficult to take the time out for disaster recovery planning, training, and practice, it’s vital to do so. In our next installment, we’ll cover key elements of the disaster recovery preparations to help you prefer for major named storms, unnamed monkeys, or whatever crisis might befall you.


About the Author

Parker, Park Place Assistant