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How Data Centers Can Provide Data Protection From Tornadoes

By: Kayla Matthews on March 23, 2020

There were more than 1,500 tornadoes in the U.S. last year. These destructive weather events can endanger all of a business's assets, even their digital ones, but there are steps companies can take to prevent damage. Proper data center management is instrumental in protecting crucial information from tornadoes.

Even though data isn't a physical asset, physical forces can still affect it. Tornadoes could damage the infrastructure companies use to host or store their information, and if that happens, they could lose a considerable amount of resources and money. Businesses can turn to data centers to ensure this scenario doesn't happen

Tornado-Proofed Data Center Buildings

Data centers exist in part to keep information safe, and as such, they're often resilient against external factors. The server storage cabinets in these complexes are typically fireproof, waterproof and shockproof. On top of these factors, the buildings that house data centers can be tornado-resistant.

Buildings with thick, reinforced walls are more likely to withstand the high winds and flying debris of a tornado. The room where the data center resides could be toward the center of the building, next to stable supporting structures or even underground. When searching for data center options, businesses should consider these tornado-resistant factors.

Not all data centers are in reinforced buildings. If a company hosts its data in an area where tornadoes are likely, it should look at the physical quality of the buildings. It could be essential in preventing the loss of critical information.

Smart Data Center Layouts

The layout of a data center can also make it more or less protected from tornadoes. Windows near the servers could prove to be a risk, as high winds could shatter them, leaving the center exposed to the elements. Similarly, projectiles hurled by a tornado could come through a window and destroy servers.

The cyclone itself isn't the only danger when a tornado strikes. The supercells that cause these weather events can also produce lightning storms and floods, creating more risk for vulnerable servers. Data centers that don't offer protection against fire and water damage are still in danger even if the actual tornado doesn't come close.

A data center with features like water pumps and fire suppressor systems is better-protected against tornadoes. Backup power supplies are also essential in case the storm damages the main power lines.

Providing Network Redundancies

One of the most effective ways in which data centers can resist disasters is by providing redundancies. Network redundancies, where multiple systems host some of the same information or processes, ensure the loss of one server doesn't destroy the whole network.

Planning for redundancy means companies don't rely on a single system for any of their operations. That way, should one system be compromised, they don't lose any information. Businesses can achieve this either by setting their data centers to routinely back things up to the cloud or by using multiple centers.

Some companies may be hesitant to implement redundancies because of the higher cost. While this approach does hinder efficiency, the safety net it provides is invaluable. Companies with limited budgets can start by only providing redundancies for higher-priority data and operations at first.

Geographic Planning

A key advantage of data centers is that businesses don't need to be near their data physically. With provisions like cloud computing, companies can host their vital information on servers in another state. That way, they could keep it away from tornado-prone areas.

Southern states like Alabama and Mississippi have a higher likelihood of tornadoes, so businesses there should consider remote data centers. Some areas may also have better disaster-resistant infrastructure. Hosting data in these regions gives companies another layer of protection.

There are environmental risks no matter where a data center resides, but some larger dangers are mostly avoidable. A center on the western side of the U.S. is far less likely to experience a tornado.

Protecting Data From Tornadoes

As tornado season comes, businesses should consider how safe their data is from natural disasters. Companies can't expect to control forces of nature, but they can prepare to resist them. There's no sense in leaving information vulnerable when data centers can provide these security advantages.

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