Will cold weather freeze your company’s operations?

Will cold weather freeze your company’s operations?

Jan 21, 2015


As the mercury continues to plunge in the United States and other parts of the Northern Hemisphere, organizations will be bracing for the brutal cold in a number of ways. If an icy chill strikes your area, can you be confident that your computer systems and data will be quickly recoverable?

With forecasts projecting below-average temperatures as arctic air sweeps across country from the Midwest to the Northeast, AccuWeather has advised people in affected areas to make preparations in order to prevent costly damage.

Just how cold is this system? The weather service reports the Midwest has already logged temps with windchills in the minus 30s and minus 40s​, with real temperatures threatening to remain below zero and looking to break records in some regions.

Complications of a deep freeze

In addition to the everyday hassles that come with extreme cold - slippery roads, dangerously bitter windchills, and closed schools and offices - enterprises face complications as dropping temperatures take a toll on their buildings and network infrastructure.

In extreme conditions, bursting pipes can cause flooding, potentially inflicting damage on equipment in server rooms. Storm systems and other complications can also bring wear and tear, along with connectivity issues. 

Are companies adequately prepared for an arctic chill, and what can organizations do to boost their defenses in snow and sun alike?

Lack of preparedness?

Many enterprises in the United States and throughout the world may find themselves in a tough position should winter storms and icy chill rage in their vicinity and damage their systems.

According to the 2014 Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark Survey, an astounding 75 percent of companies globally are at risk because they're not prepared for disaster recovery (DR). Only one in four (27 percent) scored a passing grade in the study's disaster preparedness assessment. 

How are they falling short? According to the report, most of these enterprises lack a sufficient DR plan or have experienced trouble with the one they have when it came time to use it in the past. Furthermore, many companies test their plan only once or twice a year (33 percent) or not at all (23 percent). Those that do assess their procedures frequently fail their own tests. 

Frozen prospects 

What's at stake should an arctic chill or other incident catch enterprises unprepared? The benchmark report indicated that 36 percent of organizations reported losing critical applications, virtual machines and important data for hours or even days at a time. Some even lost access to a datacenter altogether for an extended period of time. 

As a result, these downtimes and losses cost companies thousands and sometimes millions of dollars, meaning the stakes can be very high indeed.  

Taking a stand against the polar vortex 

No one can ward off the icy blast Mother Nature sometimes inflicts without discrimination, but organizations can take steps to prevent cold weather from interfering with their business operations. 

In addition to examining pipes and other potential problem areas to avoid flooding and structural damage, companies should ensure their DR plans are in good shape. For Oracle disaster recovery, this includes having backups and high availability solutions in place so resources can remain accessible even if the primary servers and datacenters go down. 

Replicating data in real-time to a standby database ensures the most up-to-date information can be recovered if primary sites experience difficulties. The key is to implement a solution that ensures services can be resumed in a minimal period of time, reducing or eliminating costly downtime periods.

With the right infrastructure in place, business leaders and IT professionals should regularly test critical applications to verify they'll recover according to defined recovery time objectives. That way, even if extreme weather arrives with a vengeance, organizations can be confident their systems are fortified to stay the course.

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