In 1994, the notorious Northridge earthquake hit Los Angeles, causing $40 billion in damage and bringing the city to its knees. It also taught the business world a lesson in preparedness. Twenty-five years later and now in the era of information technology, businesses need to ask themselves: “How would we recover if a natural disaster destroyed or damaged our information systems?”
The reality is that 75% of companies don’t have a plan in place for when disaster hits.1 Not surprisingly, as it has been 25 years since Northridge and one becomes lax and focus shifts away from prevention. With this anniversary it is important to understand how a disaster can impact operations and what steps a business should take to be prepared.
Business risks from not being in the cloud when a disaster strikes:
- Buildings, offices, and on-premise networks, storage, information etc., could be destroyed or be inaccessible
- Damaged roads make it hard or impossible for employees to access the office
- Communicating with and informing the workforce can be limited or zero
- Reduced operations will cause losses in revenue
The LA County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) has created a preparedness guide that provides recommendations for companies on how to prepare for a disaster like earthquakes, and ensure the best chances for business continuity. One major step is ensuring that information systems don’t exist on-premise, but instead are migrated to the cloud.
Highlighted recommendations from LAEDC as it relates to information systems:
- Engage experts to develop backup and disaster recovery strategies and test them
- Move your email system to the cloud
- Eliminate dependencies with on-premise servers and hardware
- Select out-of-region cloud hosting and backup
- Implement/develop smartphone apps that can support business operations
- Ensure critical customer information is backup to the cloud
- Increase the ability for your employees to access business systems via the internet
- Utilize other location(s) outside of the region
- Make electronic copies of important paper documents
- Eliminate single points-of-failure on information networks
Summary: Businesses that proactively migrate to the cloud can recover more easily and continue operating following a disaster. Files moved to the cloud can’t be destroyed by earthquakes, floods, or other disasters. Integrating a mobile device strategy to migration plans means employees can still interact and be productive, even if offices and buildings become inaccessible.