August 25, 2020
How MSPs Can Prepare For Hurricane Season
In the United States, Hurricane Season runs from May 15th on the Pacific coast, and June 1st on the Atlantic, through to November 30th. In fact, Tropical Storm Marco made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River just yesterday and many are watching as Tropical Storm Laura heads towards the Gulf Coast. Businesses throughout the impacted areas have to be ready for anything. That’s especially true for managed service providers (MSPs) who have to prepare, and protect their employees, and their clients.
We asked MSPs, with a wealth of experience in hurricane preparedness, to share insights into their processes and tactics for getting through hurricane season successfully. Our first blog is by Deana Pizzo, CEO of I.T. Solutions in South Florida.
As an MSP in South Florida, our company is well versed in dealing with hurricanes. Here, you are living and working in hurricane season half of the year. Also, did I mention Florida is the lightning strike capital of the country? So, it’s vital to be prepared year-round for a hurricane, lightning, or whatever else Mother Nature throws at you. At our company, I.T. Solutions of South Florida, we have a delineated plan for specific preparation activities triggered when we enter a Hurricane Watch (48 hours) or a Hurricane Warning (24 to 36 hours).
Putting Your Oxygen Mask on First
Our employees are our greatest asset, and their safety is paramount. In the case of a hurricane, we deploy the necessary equipment to enable our employees to work safely and efficiently from home, during, and after a named storm. We also shut down local operations at the outset of a Hurricane Warning, and continue to support our clients with full-time employees strategically located outside of South Florida.
Preparing Clients for the Storm
Our clients rely on us to guide them through hurricane season from a technology standpoint. We handle their networks as part of our services and guide their end-users on preparing their workstations, if a hurricane is forecasted to impact their area.
Every year, we strongly recommend clients prepare their business well in advance of a hurricane and not when a storm or disaster is imminent. We suggest developing a hurricane supply kit for the office, assigning hurricane preparation duties in May, and completing our Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Plan Checklist before the hurricane season begins. An updated Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Plan Checklist is sent to our clients annually and sent again as a reminder whenever a storm is brewing in the Atlantic.
Communication is Key
We stay in close contact with our clients with task-appropriate alerts as they move into a Hurricane Watch or a Hurricane Warning. We also take time to update them on our preparations and remind them they don’t have to worry about data loss because of their Datto solution.
In addition, we require all of our managed services clients to use a Datto solution to back up their data every hour. The integrity of those backups is verified daily, and data restoral is tested every night. We also have clients who commit to a mock Disaster Recovery exercise twice a year, where we power down all their systems and spin everything back up again.
Our advice to another MSP would be to secure your clients, have a quality backup solution you can trust, and be proactive about hurricane planning with your clients in May, before a storm hits.