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How to protect your employees and IT systems during hurricane season

September 14, 2017

Millions of businesses and individuals across Florida, Texas and other southeastern coastal states have begun to clean up and rebuild following the widespread devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

The massive storms caused between $150 billion and $200 billion in damages in Texas and Florida—approximately the same amount caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005—according to Moody's Analytics. The estimate covers damage to businesses, commercial real estate, homes, vehicles and public infrastructure. And more hurricanes are likely on the horizon.

Meteorologists predict that rising temperatures across land and water will lead to powerful storms with higher wind speeds, increased rainfall and greater destruction. Businesses of all sizes need to get prepared to stay in business no matter what Mother Nature has planned. The best way to do that is to create a comprehensive disaster recovery plan designed to keep your business running while protecting your employees and your critical IT systems.

Protect your employees
A disaster recovery plan includes all the information a business needs to keep employees out of harm's way. It should also detail how critical business applications and data will be protected and recovered in the event of a power outage, flood, fire or some other disaster.

Work with your team leaders (office managers, IT, security, sales, etc.) to create a detailed, written plan of action that makes sense for your company. Be sure the evacuation routes are suitable for employees with medical disabilities or special needs. Make sure the plan also includes:

  • Land line phone numbers for employees, suppliers, vendors and customers
  • Employees' mobile phone numbers so the management team can send text alerts
  • Emergency responder numbers for the police, fire department, etc.

 If possible, designate an alternative site of operation where employees can report to work if your facilities are damaged or unreachable. Ideally, you would identify at least two separate locations, one of which is at least an hour away from your current location. But if your company doesn't have the resources to designate an alternative site, make plans to have employees work at home or from safe, remote locations with internet connectivity.

Remember that creating a disaster recovery plan alone is not enough. You also have to communicate the plan to employees and update it regularly as the company grows and changes. Hold a company-wide meeting in order to review your plan in detail. Ensure that all employees—from the receptionist to the CEO and those that work part time or remotely—receive both an electronic version and a printed copy. Any time the plan changes, be sure to let everyone know, and make the plan part of the training for new employees.

Protect your IT systems
As you move forward with the disaster recovery plan, take some time to review your current backup system to ensure you're protecting essential business data such as your customer database, employee files, intellectual property, supplier contracts, etc. Then make a plan to recover your files in the event of an outage.

Consider identifying outside consultants or IT solutions providers that can help with data recovery processes if key IT members of your IT team are unavailable. Finally, be sure to conduct practice runs to make sure your team can recover data in the event of an emergency.

Carbonite can help
Every business has a unique mix of systems, with some more critical than others. Carbonite backup, high availability, data migration and endpoint protection solutions safeguard your entire IT environment with the right level of protection for each workload or device, ensuring lower costs and dependable outcomes.

Carbonite high availability solutions powered by DoubleTake protect mission-critical systems by continuously replicating data to a secondary target anywhere in the world. If a hurricane causes a disruption to your IT systems, you can failover to the system copy without downtime, data loss or disruption to end users.

Carbonite backup and disaster recovery solutions powered by EVault offer flexible deployment methods that allow you to store backups in an alternate business location, in the cloud or both. Our endpoint protection solutions ensure that end users can quickly access and recover their computer and laptop data following an outage.

Carbonite data protection solutions give you peace of mind, knowing that your data will be safe and accessible regardless of what nature has in store. With support for more than 200 operating systems and applications, Carbonite backup solutions are ideal for businesses with mixed IT environments. And all Carbonite products are supported by our award-winning customer support team.

For more information on how to prepare your business for the next storm, contact the Carbonite Customer Support Team at 855-227-2249.

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