How Ice Storms Could Freeze Your Operations

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unnamedRecently, the World Economic Forum listed extreme weather events as a top risk for 2016 in North America. In Waterloo Region, forecasted milder winters are not seen as a reprieve from wintery blasts; rather, heavy snow falls and ice events are expected to become more common. UW researcher Jason Thistlethwaite calls extreme weather in Waterloo Region the ‘new normal’. “The more extreme weather we get really does increase the chances that we’re going to see property damage and higher costs,” he says.

South of the border, emergency readiness experts have been studying the size and scope of Superstorm Sandy’s impact on data centres and related industry. The conclusions from Sandy and other similar storms are clear: increased power, size, and unusual storm tracks are making it imperative that data centre operators expand the scope of their disaster planning.

On the surface, the impact of Sandy may seem unrelated to the kinds of storms that can be expected in Southern Ontario. Here, significant power outages from ice storms are a greater likelihood than the widespread flooding seen along the East Coast. The famous Montreal ice storm of 1999 has shown us that these blasts can create power outages that have the potential to make the 2003 Northeast Blackout look like a cozy campout. Yet, upon closer examination, flooding remains a significant threat. Warming weather after the Buffalo Storm of 2014 showed that these events pack a one-two disaster punch. As basements flood, critical equipment is knocked offline quicker than you can say Noah.

Data centres have to consider carefully their planning and inventory. Backup power is a cornerstone of any disaster readiness plan. Businesses are increasingly getting their equipment out of the basement and housing it on higher levels.

Other considerations include availability of staff and service providers. Some data centres are renovating their facilities to allow staff to live on-site. This proved advantageous to CGI’s backup Montreal data centre, which housed staff during the 1999 ice storm.

Ultimately, disaster readiness means mitigating downtime. All disaster experts agree, there simply is an inevitability of downtime with increasingly extreme weather. This translates into the lost productivity and missed revenue for businesses. Sound planning, proven procedures, and disaster readiness expertise can no longer be foregone by any business.

The FoxNet IT experts have a plan to keep your data safe. Let’s talk about disaster readiness program. Contact us today.