Whether it is the dead of winter or hurricane season, unexpected and severe weather can spell disaster for school data centers.
Thankfully, disaster recovery planning, which combines using technology and other preparatory measures, can help K–12 schools 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 four steps can give school administrators enough confidence to weather any storm:
1. Leverage the Cloud for Safe Storage
Ensuring that vital data is safe during an emergency takes precedence in any disaster recovery plan. The cloud is the perfect DR backup solution for schools because it is often cheaper than emergency storage options.
“Leveraging the cloud for DR saves costs compared with traditional methods because compute and network resources are consumed only during an actual event,” writes Neil Bright, a research scientist and chief high performance computing architect at Georgia Institute of Technology, on EdTech.
Bright does caution that IT teams should consider the physical location of a cloud provider. If it’s located in a different geographic area from the school, it likely won’t be hit by the same weather.
Acronis Backup to Cloud is one option for a DR software that is intuitive for IT staff. It’s also versatile, since it can capture pretty much anything a school needs from operating systems and applications to specific program data or other folders.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Think Outside of Tech for Recovery
For Beaverton School District in Oregon, one of the most vital components of its DR plan has nothing to do with technology.
As part of its holistic backup approach, the district created a big, red binder containing the backup plans for every department in the district. These binders, along with a flash drive of the same information are kept safely in the homes of school leaders.