Superstorm Sandy, One Year Later: What Are You Doing Differently?
It has been exactly a year since Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast, causing billions of dollars in damage and impacting businesses, services and lives across the entire country. Some organizations never recovered and closed up shop for good, not because their physical locations were destroyed but because their data was lost and they didn’t have a comprehensive backup, recovery and continuity strategy.
Trying to prepare for such a natural disaster is a difficult task but solution providers should be in a better position today than they were a year ago, and so should their customers. Solution providers not only have to worry about keeping their customers’ organizations up and running but also make sure their own businesses are prepared, and last year should have served as a giant wake-up call for everybody.
While experts warn that the next “Sandy” won’t be exactly like the last Sandy, the storm did expose systemic flaws in planning and preparation on the federal, state and local level. Solution providers need to make sure they are driving the point home this year to their customers to be better prepared.
As a solution provider, you should be working with your local governments and businesses to make sure they are better prepared than they were for any type of future disaster—natural or man-made. This is a three-pronged approach and needs to be comprehensive. The strategy will only be as strong as the weakest link in any of these areas:
- Data Storage and Backup: This should be a mixture of cloud and other devices. Organizations shouldn’t have all their eggs in one basket and need to a tiered strategy combining disk, magnetic, optical and cloud to make sure their data is stored, safe and secure, regardless of what happens at headquarters.
- Disaster Recovery: Having data stored but not being able to retrieve it is like having a car without the keys. Every data storage strategy also needs to include an accessibility process for disaster recovery. Where it’s stored is important. Who has access to it securely is just as critical. Being able to retrieve data in a timely manner could make the difference of making or breaking a business in times of crisis.
- Business Continuity: You can’t build a comprehensive disaster recovery program for your customers or your own organization without a business continuity component. What is the protocol and chain of command? Who has access to what? Who has the ability to work remotely and who doesn’t? Where can a triage office be set up for employees living in the same general area? These are all issues that must be addressed with your customers and within your own organization.
One year after Superstorm Sandy it is time for a reality check with your customers as well as within your own organization on the status of business continuity plans. Did they—or you—learn anything from last year or are they—and you—still thinking it will never happen? Solution providers have an enormous responsibility to their customers, their employees and their communities.