Lessons Learned from Hurricane Irma and Harvey

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey prompted a lot of preparations, for both families and businesses. Now that the worst has passed, what lessons have we learned? The UDT team shares their lessons from the latest storm to impact Florida.

Have an internal communications plan

It’s essential for the entire team to stay on the same page. Apart from company-wide messaging, consider holding a status call with more information for managers to disseminate to their teams.  Consider alternate means of communication to your teams in the event all conventional methods (e-mail, text messages, cellular service, etc.) are not readily available.  Social media could also be used to inform clients, the general public, and employees alike of critical updates regarding office closings.

Backup, backup, backup

This goes for everything: backup your systems, files and important documents. Create digital versions of paper documents that you need to hold onto. Apart from backing up and regularly testing the restoration of your backups, consider having a contingency plan in the event one of your locations or main office does not have power or internet connectivity to resume normal business. Consider looking into co-working spaces as an alternate means to continue your day-to-day activities until your office has all utility and telecommunication services restored.

Identify your Alpha team

Before the team disperses to attend to their personal responsibilities, identify the following:

  • Who will be the points of contact?
  • Who can employees count on and who can clients go to?
  • Will you be outsourcing certain tasks to other offices?

We here at UDT initiated our DR Plan and moved our Help Desk, NOC, and SOC Operations to our Nashville office while the Florida offices were closed.

Find your backup data recovery centers

After the backups are done, verify where the recovery centers are located. If the centers are also on the storm trajectory, contact the company to ensure your data is secure.

Go wireless with the cloud

Give yourself one less thing to worry about by switching all backups over to the cloud. There are specific ways to get started with the cloud, but the most pertinent would be Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). This service saves critical response time by restoring your on-premise data in just hours with a pre-built, fully configured virtual environment, quickly enabling your servers to run within our cloud environment for up to two weeks or beyond.

Have a disaster recovery plan – and test it before the storm hits

This disaster recovery plan should be easy to understand by all employees, and should be reevaluated periodically. Our Chief Information Officer, Charles Grau, suggested the Disaster Recovery Template as a starting point for businesses.  “Not only should you test before a threat is imminent, but test on a semiannual basis,” added Grau.