Our Haiti Today blog features news and updates from the country’s ongoing recovery, written by aid workers, international journalists, and Haitian citizens.
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This year, disaster recovery (DR) has been a top priority for 45 percent of UK IT departments.
UK businesses face both man-made and natural disasters such as software and power failures, electrical fires, and flash flooding or high winds. Each business has different requirements depending on the company’s industry and size, but following these guidelines can help the business prepare its IT infrastructure for a disaster. One of the most important components of being ready for a disaster is classifying important systems and processes and mapping out any interdependencies.
If the servers powering the customer portal are dependent on other systems or a specific power supply, the business must take measures to ensure redundancy of the core servers and power supplies.
Whether it’s legacy systems that can’t keep up with growing volumes of data, a lack of redundancy or storage media corruption, too many businesses realise during a disaster that they aren’t able to recover their data, or worse, their IT environment. In fact, data loss is up by more than 400 percent since 2012, according to the EMC Global Data Protection Index. For example, Lyco, a specialist lighting e-commerce company based in Milton Keynes, had backed up to disk on-site. The benefit of this approach is that the organization was able to manage backups on-site while efficiently sending them off-site to ensure data redundancy. The appeal of DRaaS solutions is that they provide the ability to recover key IT systems and data quickly (within a 2-4 hour recovery time objective in some cases), which is crucial to meeting customers’ expectations for high availability. Companies need to have an alternate work environment available at the time of an emergency, whether it’s employees’ homes or rented office space. As a managed service provider, we have found that companies are increasingly using DRaaS solutions, which allow employees to access the environment through a VPN or online. Communication is key in any disaster recovery scenario, so businesses need to consider how they will continue to receive calls.
If a business has a cloud-based or voice over IP (VoIP) telephony solution in place, communication options can be remotely managed.


When redirecting calls to cell phones during a disaster, businesses should bear in mind that during a large-scale crisis, overloaded circuits can make it difficult to obtain a signal for placing calls, and emergency services might invoke the government’s Mobile Telecommunication Privileged Access Scheme (MTPAS) procedure. Documenting the disaster recovery plan is an important step, because during a high-pressure situation it’s all too easy to neglect key parts of the plan.
For a plan to reach its maximum effectiveness, however, it should be tested regularly (annually at minimum) to work out any kinks before a crisis arises.
It may help to break down disaster recovery testing into manageable parts until an organization is able to complete a full test. After successfully completing a test run, the business can schedule a follow-up test, involving end users as necessary. With the right plan in place, a business can cope with a range of disasters -- whether a small, localized one like server failure or a region-wide flood -- without sacrificing uptime and customers. We break down the government’s official Action Plan for the country, including the reconstruction’s main priorities and timelines. It may not display this or other websites correctly.You should upgrade or use an alternative browser.
With the increase in legal and regulatory compliance coupled with virtualization and cloud-based strategies for disaster recovery, more IT departments (five percent more than 2014, to be exact) are recognizing the importance of DR.
In a separate study by Timico, only five percent of respondents said they were totally confident that their DR plan was adequate. Today, customers expect always-on service, so how can an IT department do its part to avoid downtime when disaster strikes? A financial organization, for example, probably needs to restore customers’ online access to their accounts before it restores access to internal files. Input from other departments is critical to successfully recovering from downtime, because what IT may consider critical is not a top priority for other key departments. Typically the business continuity plan is driven by the results of business impact and risk analyses, which have identified the business’s core objectives and departmental priorities. It’s important that a business’s current backup and recovery solution ensure the strategy is adequate for the business’s needs and can protect critical data and systems. But as the organization’s business grew, management realized the risk of housing backups on-site was too great.


During a disaster, employees are able to access the environment over the Internet or another connectivity option.
If renting office space, the facility should be pre-contracted to help ensure it will be available during a disaster. Staff members need a way to access their work environment, including documents, business applications and communications platforms such as email and instant messaging.
If using landlines, the business should consult its telecom carrier or managed service provider to review options for rerouting numbers in the event of a disaster. Businesses are able to deploy pre-recorded greetings and redirect phones to staff cell phones or an alternate office location. In these situations, redirecting calls to a landline can provide a more reliable connection.
In addition, if any critical personnel who were involved in the planning process leave the business, subsequent employees can properly implement the plan. Those responsible might balk at the cost of testing the plan because of resources consumed (e.g. Some businesses will perform an IT test of specific systems or processes before conducting a full-scale test involving end users.
This interactive chart breaks down the before-and-after states of five key issues in Haiti: agriculture, debt, education, land ownership, and sexual violence. These offerings will expedite the reroute of telephone numbers, rather than calling at time of disaster to have the calls rerouted, which could take hours, if not a day or two.
This solution ensures employees can take inbound calls as well as make outbound calls in the event of a disaster. The documentation can also be useful if a managed service provider plays a role in implementing any part of the plan. If an organization is using a DRaaS solution, IT personnel should take advantage of the ability to spin up a sandbox environment so they can test recovery capabilities without affecting production systems.



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Rubric: Business Emergency Preparedness



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