Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria, and Hurricane Harvey have wreaked unimaginable havoc in USA, Caribbean, and the Dominican Republic. These natural disasters have had a huge effect on the day to day activities. For those of us in the tech world, one such effect of these catastrophic events is data loss.
How would you ensure your website remains secure in the face of persistent cataclysmic events like typhoons, out of control fires, and earthquakes? We cannot ignore the damage to infrastructure and power supply in the case of data centers, along with the severity of operational glitches in websites themselves.
Photo by NASA
They very well might mean longer downtime and larger losses, on the whole. When your WordPress hosting provider’s infrastructure is compromised your sites’ data is at risk as well. For those of you relying on hosting provider backup mechanism, your site data is in jeopardy.
Most people do not mind a small downtime or inaccessible site in times of natural disaster. In fact, it might not even be foremost in mind at that moment. Nonetheless, any subsequent loss and downtime are eventually realized. It also makes a huge difference for those relying on their sites for their bread and butter.
Photo by Yosh Ginsu
Data Centre Security
New data centers can be built in areas not normally exposed to hurricanes, tornados, and floods. However, safeguarding existing data centers in areas like the Gulf Coast or the Midwest can be challenging. It is estimated that during Sandy Hurricane in 2012, SunGard Availability Services, a data center received 342 customer alerts and 117 disaster declarations.
New data centers must also be built according to the best industry standards and practices. One such standard is the ANSI/BICSI 002-2011, Data Center Design and Implementation Best Practices. BICSI 002, which was later updated in 2011, states, “sets forth requirements, recommendations and additional information that should be considered when working with critical systems, like the electrical, mechanical, and telecommunication networks, as well as other significant needs, such as site selection, security, and building needs.”
This includes forethought on the location of the data center as well. The relevant factors which need looking into are weather history; damage, if any, from previous storms; and weather trends incorporating climate change as an important indicator of future events.
Data center security now includes protection from natural disasters; wind and water problems. For instance, relocating a data center to higher ground may eliminate flooding as a serious issue, but it may increase the data center’s exposure to high winds and lightning strikes. In case the data center is located near a flood-prone region of the Mississippi River, for example, the tradeoff may be reasonable.
45 percent of the UK’s data centers experienced disruption to their data center operation in the last 12 years due to “seismic activity or other natural disasters”. According to a 2015 survey with 301 senior IT professionals in the UK, Germany, and Turkey, some 58% – have experienced disruption caused by a natural disaster in the last 12 years, compared with those that do not outsource (25%).
This is evidently a global phenomenon. There is a good chance that your site resides on web hosts which are located on any of these data centers.
If you are worried about your site security, here are some ways you can avert any major damage.
Disaster Recovery Plan for your WordPress site.
You should always have three copies of all important data. Each of the backups should contain complete files and database of your site.
These three copies should be on at least two different storage mediums. And at least one copy should be offsite, something that a WordPress backup plugin like BlogVault can easily take care of for customers.
In Florida, there are over 100 colocation server spaces, and only some can withstand a hurricane like Hurricane Irma. The grim truth is, we need to always be prepared. That includes making sure your backups actually are functional. This is a periodic necessity to ensure your data is not completely lost in times of need.
You can routinely create a test environment with BlogVault using Auto Restore function where you can restore a copy of a client site to make sure that the backups are serviceable. If you are not testing your backups, then they aren’t really backups.
It might seem like there’s a lot out there trying to bring down your website. Hardware failure, web hosting failure, Plugin or Theme issues, hacks, vulnerabilities and human errors are all complications faced by WordPress website owners every day. However, natural disasters are truly one of those problems which are completely out of our control.
August and September 2017 were tough months for many of us. There have been innumerable landslides, flooding, and incidents of earthquakes, across the world. Going with the old saying, “Prevention is better than Cure”, a reliable and feasible plan which can recover your data (In the case of a disaster that renders your hosting provider completely inaccessible) is definitely your best bet.