Be Ready! Six Steps to Take Before a Natural Disaster Hits Your Communications
In what’s shaping up to be an unprecedented hurricane season for the U.S., Avaya wants to ensure that we all review our plans to keep communication systems running at peak performance and stabilized when disaster strikes. Keeping communication systems running often includes a great partner with a deep bench of experts who have experience in many complex situations. Particularly invaluable are battle-tested IT experts who can help rebuild and stabilize communications when disaster strikes. Avaya can engage in a proactive support dialogue to help you avoid complexity from the outset.
Before the Storm
Hurricanes like Harvey and Irma can be catastrophic to businesses. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy caused $65 billion in damage in the U.S., making it the second-costliest weather disaster in American history behind only Hurricane Katrina, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). During the storm, 8,204,220 Americans and thousands of businesses lost power.
No matter the weather (and because the average cost of downtime is $2,700 per minute), it is best to avoid outages by knowing what is most likely to cause communication system outages. According to the research report The Essential Guide to Avoiding Networking Outages, power outages are the leading cause of communications outages. This white paper features an analysis of the top five causes of outages with the percentage of those outages that could potentially have been prevented had leading practices been followed. The top five causes of outages are:
- Power outages – 74%
- Lack of routine maintenance – 73%
- Software bug – 69%
- Hardware failure – 39%
- Network issue – 35%
The analysis shows that outages can be avoided by using industry-leading outage prevention practices. Leveraging resources now and on an ongoing basis to determine if facilities can meet power demands and ward off problems is essential. Also, make sure to:
- Schedule maintenance of systems to avoid what is the high percentage of remediable outages (73%) attributed to poor maintenance and underutilized upkeep.
- Watch for telltale signs from equipment that a problem is approaching. Proactive health checks, disciplined system monitoring, and observed maintenance schedules can aid in hearing the signal, helping improve the reliability of communications assets.
- Upgrade equipment approaching end of manufacturing support (EoMS), avoiding the fallout from the over-sweating of assets.
- Verify system redundancy, system health checks, and failover strategies for critical systems.
- Patch whenever possible to eliminate software bugs or software-related outages. Some choose to let others occupy the upgrade frontlines and endure potential rollout hiccups, then follow along at a safe interval. This strategy breaks down disastrously when an organization suffers an outage that would have been avoided with a fix that it voluntarily chose to postpone.
- Draw a network diagram to isolate an outage, speed resolution by illustrating the relationships among pieces of equipment, and isolate that outage!
As a hurricane or other natural disaster approaches, try not to depend on local team members who could be facing challenges of their own at home. Instead, move team members to locations where they can work with clients. When assembling a team, pull from across the organization and leverage readouts at defined intervals.
Follow these six steps to prepare before a hurricane—or other disasters—strike:
- Save translations before an emergency event impacts the site. This will help ensure that recent changes are not lost and speed restoration in the advent of damage to the system.
- Review safety procedures with all employees prior to the emergency event, if possible, and make certain to have an updated contact list to keep in touch.
- Secure back-up media so that translations won’t be lost or damaged, thereby delaying restoration of your service. Take a copy of back-ups and any other information off site.
- Print and store a current list configuration of key solutions. If a new system is necessary, this simple precaution will save time in starting the process.
- Consider powering your system down before the emergency event impacts the site. Electrical power surges both before and after an emergency event can pose the greatest threat to your system.
- Contemplate moving switch/applications if the site is located in an area that may be exposed to damage from the emergency.
Taking the above actions can limit risk and help ensure your communications systems make it through a challenging, tough time. Learn more at our Help Center. And if you do have an outage on your Avaya equipment, report it at Support.Avaya.com. Or call 800-242-2121.