I spent time working in Brisbane last week, and had the opportunity to see first hand how our clients and local staff had weathered the storms and flooding.
IT systems are rarely designed to function during long term power outages, so I was glad to see that our clients in Brisbane had been able to effectively follow their disaster plans. Shutting down and moving key data and systems before damage could occur, and using portable generators to ensure that critical processing of customer orders and payments could continue.
But not everyone was so fortunate, and it seems like there was a lot of confusion, and very little specific help for businesses and people as the flood waters drew nearer.
One of Dataweave’s newest team members, Chris Kim, lives in Indooroopilly. His family delayed evacuating their 2 storey house, believing they would be above the high water mark. By the time the water entered his house, the street outside was impassible – except by swimming through the raging water. When called, emergency services advised him to have his entire family climb onto his roof.
Fortunately, with some help from a neighbour who happened to pass by in a boat, Chris was able to evacuate his family.
Even with warning, events can quickly exceed our ability to cope without outside help. Many businesses were caught unprepared, and have paid a heavy price. I recently heard that patient records have been completely destroyed at many doctor’s surgeries in Queensland, due entirely to flood damage.
While the flooding and cleanup has obviously disrupted the lives of many people, the loss of medical records will cause Queensland residents problems for years to come. Most businesses now rely entirely on software applications and databases for their most basic day to day tasks. It is really clear that businesses of all sizes should have at least a basic disaster recovery plan in place, test and update their plan at least annually, and treat offsite data backup as an essential item.
Test drills are an efficient way to quickly uncover problems with disaster recovery plan effectiveness and employee training, so this is a service we routinely carry out for our clients. Better to uncover problems in a drill, than when the water is half way up the racks in your datacentre.