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Earthquakes, Hurricanes, and a Crumbling Infrastructure

Posted by Patrick Snyder
Patrick Snyder
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on Wednesday, 24 August 2011 in MyBlog

The recent 5.9 magnitude earthquake in Mineral, VA was a complete surprise to those within its reach. Although damages were minimal this still reminds us of the importance of disaster recovery and business continuity planning. So far reports only show minimal injuries, a safety shutdown of local nuclear plants, and some cell network disruption. These effects are minor as compared to other major disasters. The most important thing we must take from this event is that these things can happen anywhere and everyone must be prepared.

Your office may not be near a fault line, in tornado alley, or along hurricane path, but these natural events do deviate from their means from time to time. In a way there is no 100% safe place to be. It is always a good practice to plan for every disaster possible and not just those that are common for your area.

This also raises some questions regarding the placement of our disaster recovery providers. Chances are your disaster recovery provider has chosen a backup location that on a normal day is exposed to minimal risk of disaster. They probably claim this location has been chosen due to its low risk factor and generally safe environment. But as I just stated there is no end all be all safe haven for data and IT centers to set up shop. So what happens if your disaster recovery provider is knocked out by a natural disaster? Do you have a backup for your backup?

In another side of the story, the Tuesday quake may not have thrown any industries into disaster recovery mode but it did shed light on the aging infrastructure throughout cities along the East coast. Disaster recovery plans can help to rebuild and enable business continuity after a damaging event however, they do not generally take into account the fragility of the infrastructure currently in place. Many disaster recovery plans would be much less likely to be activated if the infrastructures they are set up for are solid and secure from the start.

With hurricane Irene bearing down on the East coast within the next week we can only hope the minor damage already done by the quake is not magnified by the hurricane. Be prepared, batten down the hatches, and have your disaster recovery and business continuity plans ready.

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