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Five essential DR tasks for hurricane preparation

Brien Posey outlines five hurricane preparation steps to take if your organization does not already have a formal DR plan in place.

A hurricane is very different from other types of disasters because you can literally watch it approaching on the...

news or online. If you have minimal (or no) DR precautions in place, what are the five most important hurricane preparation-related things to do in the three days leading up to its landfall?

Hurricane preparation will vary depending on the specific needs of your organization, but here are five important precautions you can take:

1. Build replica VMs

If the organization has no disaster recovery plan then the first thing that I would recommend is identifying the most critical systems and building replica VMs on spare hardware.

2. Back up everything that you can

Obviously, if a hurricane is coming, it is important to back up everything that you possibly can. It's a good idea to back up to removable media and then ship the media somewhere safe. Although it might be tempting to try to move a disk-based backup system, you run the risk of damaging the disks during the move.

Of course, if there is no way to back up all of your most critical systems in the amount of time that you have, then moving your backup array might be your best bet. Conversely, if your organization does not have a large amount of data to back up, copying data to a cloud backup target may be feasible.

3. Identify a place where you can temporarily set up shop

The third hurricane preparation tip is to identify a physical location where you can temporarily set up shop. I once worked for an organization that rented warehouse space and then set up servers, phone lines, and other devices following a disaster. Depending on the nature of your business, employees may be able to work from home, but establishing a temporary location to run critical applications is likely necessary.

4. Make sure that your data center is adequately secured

The fourth step is to make sure that your data center is physically secured. This might sound a little counterintuitive, but think about it. Large-scale disasters are frequently followed by looting. Having good physical security may prevent the theft of IT assets. If server hardware is stolen, strong passwords and data encryption should guarantee that no data is exposed.

5. Decide ahead of time when you will move operations

The last step in hurricane preparation is to decide ahead of time when you will abandon your data center. Establishing this deadline upfront lets everyone know just how much time they have to prepare.

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