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Hurricane Season Checklists for MSPs

Author: Christopher Henderson, director of information security, Datto

Hurricane season is upon us, and as a managed service provider (MSP), that means you’ll be working to prepare and protect your business, your employees, and your clients. Hurricanes and coastal storms can put data centers and companies out of commission for a day, a week, or permanently. You should prepare for anything if you or your clients operate in hurricane-prone areas. Below are a series of high-level checklists that will help you navigate this busy season.

Disaster Recovery (DR) Testing:

These necessary steps should be taken by any MSP before a storm to ensure they are ready to support their customers throughout the hurricane season.

  • Check recent backups on all production machines.
  • Ensure recent backups were sent successfully to the cloud (or other DR sites) for each production machine.
  • Verify recent functional screenshots of each production machine to validate your ability to recover.
  • Make sure that any backup site you or your end users move to have power generation, Internet, and cell phone connectivity.
  • Take corrective action as soon as possible. Your vendor should have a repository of information on how run disaster recoveries with a support team standing by to assist you in real time.
  • Datto partners can find this information at help.datto.com.

Continuity Checklist Regarding Technology & People:

As hurricanes approach and potentially impact your area, continuity is critical. Ensure you have:

  • Continuous off-site backup of data, applications, and server images
  • The ability to restore IT operations in the cloud and/or at a site sufficiently further inland from the coast to be unaffected by the storm
  • Website alerts that notify customers and partners about storm preparations and post-storm updates
  • A sufficiently distant inland facility—along with any temporary housing necessary for key employees whose homes are also in the storm’s path
  • Constant communications to keep employees updated on resource availability, recovery status, etc.
  • Any third-party contracting for shipping/receiving, mail processing, duplicating, etc.

Solving Problems for Your Clients:

This checklist covers some of the first questions you should ask if a storm negatively impacts your clients or your own business.

  • What is the source of the problem?
  • Has a piece of hardware failed?
  • Did the operating system become corrupt through infection by viruses or malware?
  • Was there a problematic software update?
  • Have your recent screenshot verifications been successful? If not, when did the problems begin?
  • Is the outage due to a utility or ISP? Get an update from your provider regarding the length of the outage.

The answers to these questions determine the appropriate restore method, and which recovery point to use. Once you’ve determined what you are trying to restore, you can decide which option will work best.

In the event of a hurricane, Datto is ready to support you and your clients with additional support staff and increased resources to help with critical backup and recovery efforts. Learn how to prepare for and respond to hurricane season from one of your peers, Blake Dowling, CEO, Aegis Business Technologies in our podcast, How Datto Partners & The Disaster Response Team Prepare for Hurricane Season.


Author Christopher Henderson is director of information security at Datto. Read more guest blogs from Datto here.

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