With Hurricane Irma set to make landfall this weekend, we wanted to provide several important reminders to both Continuum partners and other MSPs or IT service providers with customers in the affected area.
The National Hurricane Center expects “severe hurricane conditions” over portions of the Florida peninsula and Florida Keys beginning late Saturday evening, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott said the storm has the potential to “catastrophically devastate” the state.
While public safety and rescue operations are always the top priorities following a disaster scenario, there are a number of other processes and practices IT providers must put into place to ensure that their customers are able to recover and resume operations as quickly as possible.
Contact Information and Planned Communications
Throughout the storm and its aftermath, it’s critical that you are able to communicate with any vendors, solution providers and partners that maintain or support the tools and technologies in your portfolio. Ensure that you have access to both electronic and hard copies of relevant contact information, incident response plans and other documentation that will be used during any recovery efforts following the storm.
Continuum will be carefully monitoring affected endpoints and devices at Continuum partner sites, and will proactively reach out to any impacted partners to offer technical assistance and support. Please ensure you have access to the appropriate contact information for both your account management team and Continuum’s Network Operations Center (NOC) in advance of any power failure or outages. We recommend maintaining both electronic and hard copies of this information. For any sites that are leveraging Continuum’s Help Desk, we will have the appropriate staff in place to provide support to any impacted end users.
We also encourage you to be as proactive as possible in communications with your customers, particularly as it relates to data recovery efforts. In addition to contacting users and sites via phone or email when possible, we recommend adding important updates and alerts to your website, social media accounts and any customer-facing portals or systems.
Unfortunately, these natural disasters are also often followed by spikes in malicious email scams or phishing attempts disguised as relief efforts and opportunities to donate or support those who have been affected. It’s important to remain aware and vigilant in detecting these, and to educate your customers so they can effectively identify and distinguish legitimate communications from malicious content.
Data Recovery and Restoration Efforts
In any disaster situation, the recovery and restoration of customer data is a top priority for MSPs. Testing and verifying backups, ensuring recovery processes and plans are well-documented and staffing accordingly are all essential in the weeks and days leading up to a storm like Irma. The ability to effectively triage, prioritize and address incidents based on severity will also help ensure recovery efforts are occurring as efficiently as possible.
For Continuum partners with clients protected by Continuum BDR, we will be working around-the-clock to ensure downtime and data loss are both minimized. Our technical support teams remain available 24x7, and our NOC is prepared to offer its full support with virtualization and restoration efforts. We have already begun proactively verifying backups, conducting DR tests and taking other measures to minimize data loss and ensure both you and your customers will be able to resume normal operations as quickly as possible in the event of any downtime.
Additional Resources and Materials
The following links contain additional information and resources that may be helpful:
By Richard Harber
By Gretchen Hoffman
By Gretchen Hoffman