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Will your data center hold up in a hurricane, tornado or earthquake?

September 17, 2018

Will your data center hold up in a hurricane, tornado or earthquake?

According to CBS News, natural disasters cost the U.S. a record $306 billion in 2017. And the U.S. hurricane season in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans is now upon us, now through Nov. 30. Protecting your customers' information and company data, as well as maintaining server uptime, is critical. Will your data center withstand a natural disaster like a hurricane, tornado or earthquake to avoid server interruption and asset damage? Consider these strategies, whether you're building a data center from the ground up or looking at alternatives to strengthen your data center's posture.

1. Site selection

Like buying a home, the truism of location, location, location is important. However, customer proximity requirements influence site selection, which sometimes means building a data center in a hurricane-, tornado- or earthquake-prone area. To reduce risk, some data centers rely on more than one physical location and incorporate a mix of physical and digital redundancies like multiple data center locations and cloud and data center technologies to protect data and maintain uptime. To assist with site selection and planning, check out these public resources on floodsearthquakes and hurricanes.

2. Site construction

If you're planning to build a data center in a disaster-prone area, you'll need to plan accordingly by incorporating strong physical defenses. For example, some data centers are located underground with robust concreted ducting, long run-time generators and emergency food and supplies. For data centers located in fault zones, an earthquake-resistant structure can help your data center fare seismic activity.

3. The human element

If you support multiple data centers, consider incorporating a team of experts who are prepared to work in natural disaster zones. They can drop into an area that's under threat and relieve local staff so they can take care of their own families.

4. Documentation

To keep your customers’ businesses operational, your documented processes and procedures should plan for the worst. Think loss of property or life. According to Ingram Micro technology consultant, Nick Vermiglio, documentation is the most overlooked part of any disaster recovery plan. He recommends your documented processes and procedures should leave nothing to the imagination.

5. Practice and test

If you have a disaster recovery plan in place, have you tested it with a risk assessment? By practicing your plan more than twice a year, your operations staff will be better prepared when the unexpected happens. TechRepublic offers a range of useful tips for disaster planning.

Learn more