How can businesses keep data safe in the event of a natural disaster?

Many organisations underestimate the urgency for having an effective emergency response strategy, even though establishing one is a small price to pay in the long run

Your geographical location will greatly determine the extent of your business’s natural disaster response. However, natural disasters don’t like to play fair, and nobody is ever truly immune from Mother Nature’s wrath. Thus, even businesses in countries that are less prone to weather hazards and the like should not consider themselves natural disaster-resistant.

Recently, the enterprise tech industry has taken a more united front in recognising that prevention works better than fixing the aftermath. Take cybersecurity, for example. Companies can build and invest in their barrier against cyber threats for less than what a hack will cost them. Nowadays, organisations are increasingly investing in preventative measures to avoid spending big bucks on cleaning up a mess.

Science and technology certainly help in making predictions and issuing warnings. However, natural disasters are famously unforgiving, and, unlike cyber threats, you can’t stop them in their tracks. Therefore, businesses must have steps in place for damage control in these situations.

Most businesses today are heavily technology-dependent. In a natural disaster, data infrastructures can be compromised, or even destroyed. Therefore, in the calm before the storm, companies must establish strategies should such a thing happen.

Forecasting for the future

Today, companies can make use of the cloud to protect their data, which will keep it safe in extreme weather (ironically, given the name) and natural hazards. In doing so, if your computers are damaged in a disaster, your data is can still be accessed on the cloud. That way, you can recover it from a different location. The cloud is also notable for its low cost, making it an especially attractive solution for organisations.

Furthermore, companies should consider shortening their recovery point objective (RPO). This refers to the length of time ‘acceptable’ to lose data. These can be as short at 15 minutes to help minimise the data loss as much as possible. However, a shorter RPO necessitates systems that can handle frequent backups. Thus, you will need to invest in extra software and equipment, which, of course, come at an expense.

On a similar note, companies should look at decreasing their recovery time objective (RTO). This refers to the maximum length of time ‘acceptable’ for your application to be offline. Like your recovery point, the shorter your RTO, the more costly your app is to run. However, in the long term, these investments are a small price to pay.

Unfortunately, many businesses have never been able to recover after natural disasters, with some never even reopening. Still, the percentage of adequately prepared businesses is shockingly low. There is definitely an illusion of immunity among businesses, especially depending on their landscape, but natural disasters do not discriminate, no matter where you are. Therefore, if you’re one of the many companies without an emergency response strategy, you may want to start preparing for a rainy day.

Want to know more about data protection and recovery? Check out this piece by Michael Lemm, Owner at FreedomFire Communications.