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Natural Disasters Happen – How Secure Is Your Data Center?

by SUMMIT on November 24th, 2015

Natural Disasters Happen - How Secure Is Your Data Center?

Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters wreak havoc on the lives of those caught in their wake. While a severe thunderstorm isn’t likely to interfere with cloud computing or traditional network server setups, a natural disaster can be as destructive to technology as it is to other areas of life. Natural disasters not only cause disruption in service, they can cause significant financial loss.

The Real Risk of Data Center Security in Natural Disasters

According to a Zenium Technology Partners data center study, as many as half of all data centers are not prepared enough to maintain service during a natural disaster. Half of all companies surveyed indicated they had experienced at least one operational disruption over a 10 year period because of natural events. In terms of loss associated with a natural disaster, the highest amount of loss was quoted at £500,000 or $768,165. This data indicates that natural disasters are another risk that data centers must consider and prepare for during the normal course of business.

Equally as unsettling is the fact that companies that outsource their data experience more data disruptions than those who handle their servers internally. Unlike internal operations, if a natural disaster hits an outsourcing company and knocks out or damages the data center, many companies could find themselves without access to vital information and applications used on a daily basis. Does that mean that the answer to natural disaster security is to avoid outsourcing? Not necessarily.

Types of Disruptions Natural Events Can Cause in Data Centers

Power outages are one of the most common events associated with inclement weather. Fire and water damage are also concerns that present much more of a risk. Power outages can typically be anticipated and prepared for with backup generators. Flooding or fire hazards, on the other hand, often arise quickly and unexpectedly, and can cause significant hardware loss in a short period of time. Blizzards, ice and hail storms can also cause destruction of power supply and physical data systems.

Even though most of the organizations polled in the Zenium Technology Partners study claimed to have adequate flood and earthquake preparations, as many as half may be overestimating their preparedness. Now is the time to reevaluate contingency plans for natural disasters and, secure data centers for the benefit of both the data center and data center clients.

Making Preparations

Generators are just the start of the list for risk assessment and preparedness. Adequate fuel for generators, staff who can reach the center in time (and safely), and backup resources like food and water are all important factors to consider when creating a data center disaster recovery plan. Whether a disaster is forecasted on the news or it hits suddenly, center preparedness can prevent financial loss and the loss of key clients.

If you are a client who is unaware of your data center’s disaster recovery plan or you’re a data center employee, ask questions today that can help you prepare for tomorrow. Identify the risks, gain an understanding for the processes that will maintain business support during the disaster, and know how the disaster recovery plan transitions back to normal business operations.

Natural disasters are unpredictable. A data center may never use the contingency plan in place but having one could mean the difference in maintaining business operations and shutting down altogether.

photo credit: Data Center via photopin (license)

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