Whether it is the dead of winter or hurricane season, unexpected and severe weather can spell disaster for on-campus data centers.
Thankfully, disaster recovery planning, which combines technology and other preparatory measures, can help higher education institutions ensure that their data is safe no matter what inclement weather — or other crisis — is thrown at them.
From cloud backups to backup generators, these three steps can help colleges feel confident enough to weather any storm:
1. Establish Cloud as a Backup
For many colleges, the cloud has become an integral part of their disaster recovery plans.
Wheaton College, a top-ranking liberal arts institution near Boston, previously had a disaster recovery strategy so poor that it would take weeks to fully restore operations after any type of disaster.
EdTech reports that Wheaton IT leaders, including Roy Galang, the former director of technology infrastructure, turned to a cloud-based disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solution to create a more efficient way to restore systems.
While Wheaton used a handful of other cloud backup solutions as well, the Veritas NetBackup tool created a unified backup for both the physical and virtual components of its data center. This removed many of the headaches involved in the IT staff’s disaster recovery plan.
“If we ever had a massive disaster, it would have been a challenge trying to remember how to restore each of those individual systems,” says Galang. “We needed to have a better insurance policy in place.”
2. Back up More Than Your Data
While data can be backed up efficiently on the cloud, other precautions in the physical data center space can boost operability during a natural disaster such as a hurricane or blizzard. Data Center Knowledge suggests that IT staff make sure their physical data center is connected to a backup generator.
“Hurricanes or large storms don’t typically wipe out infrastructure, but they can cause widespread power outages for significant periods of time,” writes Clayton Costello, operations manager at CK Power, in the article.
Costello also recommends that IT staff make sure the backup generator is serviced regularly so it will operate without a hitch.
3. Invest in Technology that Protects
Some companies have taken disaster proofing so seriously that they have created storage servers that are nearly indestructible. For example, ioSafe, a resilient storage provider, recently released the Server 5, which includes systems that can withstand 30 minutes of direct flame and spend three days underwater.
“Server 5 was designed to help organizations faced with increasing demands and limited resources to better protect their data, and can be used to build a complete disaster recovery and business continuity solution that ensures data is 100 percent protected and can be restored anywhere, anytime with or without an internet connection,” said Robb Moore, ioSafe CEO, in a DatacenterDynamics article.
Other companies, such as Turtle, have created waterproof and fireproof storage cabinets perfect for data centers.