Recently, Southwest Dubois County School Corporation in Southeast Indiana ran into some problems when a water pipe was cut during construction at Southridge High School. The pipe was quickly capped. But as they later learned, when water rushed onto the school’s computer servers, the pipe had been capped improperly. The estimated damage of $500,000 was covered by insurance. Equipment is replaceable and sometimes salvageable but that doesn’t cover data that could be lost from such an incident.
Things like this do happen and we all need to be prepared. Whether or not you have offsite backup or disaster recovery, you should make sure your servers aren’t near ongoing construction, overhead water pipes or windows. The equipment should not be in a basement or first floor, if possible. This reduces the chances of water damage from flooding. This won’t help you if a pipe bursts on a higher floor like at Abilene Christian University where a pipe burst due to cold temperatures and flooded the third floor back in February. The school’s IP server was damaged and no new computers could be connected to their network. That seems like a fairly lucky incident. Lost data or lost internet connectivity would have been much worse for staff and students.
Not everyone is as fortunate. Last year, a water main break caused a massive flood in the basement of the Dallas County Records Building in Texas. Their servers were located on the fifth floor but UPS systems and key electrical equipment were six feet under water in the basement. The County had no backup system at the time. It took three days to get critical computer systems back in place. During those three days, half of the civil courts and one-third of the criminal courts could not operate. Police officers were unable to run background checks during traffic stops. The building remained closed to the public for a month and the reported cost of repairs: $10 million dollars.
This is a risky business. Lacking a backup system leaves you extremely vulnerable in the event of a disaster. Some business couldn’t bounce back from an incident like Dallas County, Texas suffered. According to the Red Cross, 40% of small businesses do not reopen after a major disaster. A water main break might not be a major disaster but what about ice and snow causing impassable roads and power outages? What about a tornado, hurricane, fire or flood? Do you have a contingency plan for these situations?
Downtime is easily avoidable and Data Cave can help.
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