Hurricane Preparedness for IT

Given that we are currently in a pre-hurricane frenzy of preparatory activity along the Gulf Coast and on the anniversary of 9/11, it seemed appropriate to post this to-do list of things to think of when a hurricane landfall is imminent in your area. Of course many of these things could apply to any other potential disaster that you have some warning of, including snow storms, approaching forest fires (like in california, not building fires). I may have forgotten a few here so feel free to suggest other ideas and I'll add them to the list. Meanwhile I'm off to prepare myself. Good luck to the rest of my fellow Texas Gulf Coasters! See you on the other side!

Top Ten Things To Do When Under a Hurricane Watch:

  1. Backups: Ensure the most current backups are stored offsite.
  2. Have departments print any important operational reports so that they have hard copies to work off of, in case systems are down after the event.
  3. If you are in the direct path of the storm and the loss of power is likely, it may be best to power down the servers that don’t need to be up 24 x 7 before landfall and evacuation.
  4. If your building is susceptible to roof leaks, consider covering sensitive computer and electronic equipment (remember not to constrict air flow if the equipment is left on).
  5. Locate your disaster recovery plan, including your vendor contact list, and make sure the current plan is stored offsite and available should a disaster occur. Make sure all key people have a copy.
  6. If time allows, have a quick walk-through of the plan to familiarize and refresh staff on the plans and procedures. Make sure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities.
  7. If you have any disaster recovery equipment, spares, routers, etc., make certain this equipment is stored offsite and is available.
  8. If your office is on the ground floor and is located in a low-lying area, make sure critical workstations, servers, and other equipment are off the floor. If any key computers or equipment are located near windows, move them to interior areas.
  9. If you have a generator, make sure that you have sufficient fuel available. If you are under contract with a vendor to provide one, verify delivery terms and SLA with the vendor.
  10. Discuss with staff who will be evacuating and who plans on staying behind. If possible, designate one or more individuals as the “ride-out” team for IT so that services can be returned to normal as soon as possible.
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