Is your business prepared for Ottawa's next
natural disaster?

Welcome to your digital disaster preparedness kit. Click the button below to explore!

Natural disasters are becoming our city’s new normal.

Prior to the year 2000, the National Capital Region had only experienced three tornadoes in its recorded history.

Since then, there have been 15.

At Grade A, we believe in the power of proactivity. We've reflected on last year's tornadoes and floodshow we helped our clients, what strategies we used, and how we're planning on moving forward. 

The result? A natural disaster preparedness kit that you can can use to protect your business using your IT. 

The
Impact

1
businesses and homes were without power 24 hours after the storm.
$ 1
of insured damage makes this the second most costly tornado in Canadian history.

First Steps

Click on the boxes below to see Grade A's top recommendations on how to prepare your IT environment for the inevitable next disaster.

Take a step back and peripherally assess your current IT environment for factors that could weaken your environment in the event of a disaster.

Some indicators of risk include:

  • Infrastructure vulnerabilities, such as outstanding damage to your building. 
  • Location of key IT assets, such as proximity to the Ottawa River.
  • Onsite data storage that is not backed up elsewhere. 
  • Cyber security vulnerabilities, unrestricted data access.

Once your level of risk has been assessed, compile an inventory list that accounts for your entire IT environment. Include all hardware, software, equipment, servers, mobile devices and storage that live on-site. Use our template for guidance on what to include. 

In the event of a disaster, this list will be essential in two ways:

1) To keep track of your assets if there is destruction. 

2) To know which assets are your priority to recover or re-purchase to resume operations as quickly as possible. 

If your business hasn’t already migrated to the cloud to store your data, now is the time.

The cloud refers to software and services that run on the Internet, instead of locally on your computer. Most cloud services can be accessed through a Web browser like Firefox or Google Chrome, and some companies offer dedicated mobile apps. Cloud computing platforms are the most efficient method for backing up your data offsite so that you can access it from anywhere, under any circumstance.

If you’ve already made the move to cloud solutions through a platform like Microsoft Azure, you should ensure that your plan has the capacity to store all of your essential data. This will ensure that your business can preserve and retrieve things like employee’s personal data, company financial information, files, passwords and more.

Offsite backup can take other forms, too, including storage in an offsite storage server A storage server is typically less powerful than a standard server, but has more storage space, storage access interfaces and specialized data retrieval tools.

In some regions that are prone to natural disasters, you’ll find “disaster proof” buildings and homes which are fitted with top-of-the-line physical infrastructure to remain resilient through hurricanes, tornadoes and more. This involves nearly indestructible roofing, flooring and storage servers.

These investments can be incredibly costly and time consuming to implement. Disaster-proofing your office may take years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment.

Rather than disaster-proofing your facilities entirely, our advice is to make small investments in physical infrastructure and instead have a solid relocation plan in place.

Consider investing in a backup power generator or flood resistant flooring for your server room in order to prioritize your most valuable hardware. 

The more realistic alternative to disaster-proofing your physical space is to create a thorough relocation plan for your IT environment. This plan with outline directions for staff and key decision-makers to relocate critical IT assets to a different facility in the event of a disaster.

Relocating to a safe area will both protect your employees and avoid significant downtime.

Plan to have an appropriate amount of mobile technology such as laptops, tablets, cellphones and chargers ready for use at the relocation site. Hardware at an alternate facility can be configured to run similar applications as needed. Assuming your data is backed up offsite or is mirrored between the two sites, data can be restored at the alternate site and operations can continue.

If a natural disaster is approaching and you have warning, request employees to bring portable technology home with them and set them up with the appropriate security features for them to work remotely. 

Mother Nature rarely gives a warning.

Having charged portable devices, wireless power banks, charged batteries and more wireless tools onsite and ready for use will ensure that your business is prepared if you lose electricity. Since many natural disasters unpredictable in the days and weeks leading up, constantly keeping the aforementioned tools ready will give you peace of mind and ensure that your business can be resilient through a sudden loss of power. 

Create a process for keeping these devices charged at all times and ensure that you have a plan for allocating these tools to the right people to avoid security risks.

Feeling overwhelmed? We can help. 

Take control over your business continuity with our free Disaster Recovery Plan for IT. 

Grade A's Story

When the tornadoes touched ground last September, Grade A was proud to provide guidance and comfort for clients caught in the chaos.

The tornado took out power for dozens of businesses in Ottawa that receive our managed IT services.  We were prepared with robust battery backup, a backup generator, and our incredible team of support staff to keep these businesses up and running. 

On and off-shift Grade A employees were quick to jump on the phone lines that Friday evening, communicating with those impacted, re-routing mail, setting up VPNs, and retrieving critical data for clients late into the night and over the weekend.

Working with Grade A means that we can focus on providing food to families in need and not spend time worrying about our IT infrastructure.
Ottawa Food Bank

Assess Your IT

Use the form below to book you IT assessment with us, where we’ll help you understand how you can leverage your technology when disaster strikes.

 

Grade A
9 Slack Rd #200, Nepean, ON K2G 0B7

(613) 721-3331 - info@gradea.ca

We are your strategic technology partners.

Fueled by outstanding customer service and a passion for innovative technology, Grade A is one of Canada’s leading IT firms providing end-to-end IT solutions for business.

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