It's 'Snow' Joke: Winter Storms Can Freeze Your Business

It's 'Snow' Joke: Winter Storms Can Freeze Your Business

By Sarah Roberts

As severe winter weather hits the UK and Ireland, the possibility of damage may present a high cost to both individuals and businesses. The cold snap in 2010 was estimated to cost the UK economy up to £1.2 billion ($1.45 billion) per day, according to insurer RSA. But how can businesses protect themselves?

Cold weather can cause expensive damage to infrastructure, and freezing pipes are a particular danger as they can lead to flooding. This means that even server rooms on higher ground are at risk. It is recommended to leave the heat on, even when the building is empty, and carrying out maintenance such as fixing dripping taps.

If the worst did happen, ensure your business can run applications in the cloud using Instant Virtualization and replace any damaged hardware. Getting new parts can take over 48 hours - and poor road conditions may exacerbate those lead times. Welsh retailer, Mandarin Stone, faced a long wait for new hardware which would have cost them around £100,000 per day. Luckily, the entire business was able to work from Datto’s virtualized server “without any noticeable difference” for ten days.

Blackouts and power cuts are also a possibility. As a result, it’s important businesses are taking frequent backups to minimize data loss; a good Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) solution should be able to take automated backups every fifteen minutes.

Managed services providers (MSPs) may prepare for disasters ahead of time, but it does not mean that everything will always go according to plan. Storms bring their unique BDR challenges, as Datto’s head office experienced.

In 2013, during the Nemo Blizzard, Datto's Norwalk headquarters discovered that tightly-packed snow on the roof could hamper air conditioning units, which could affect the temperature of servers. The trick is to have a plan A, B, C, and D - and then be prepared to need an E and F, too!

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