POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Mar 29, 2011
It was hard to miss the tsunami alert on March 11. Sirens were wailing all over Oahu. TV screens endlessly repeated footage of wreckage-filled floodwaters destroying everything in their path on the Miyagi prefecture coast. Meanwhile, Hawaii people were stunned by the losses and human suffering unfolding for the Japanese, while facing the stark reality of a powerful surge racing toward the islands.
No doubt thousands of business owners statewide were suddenly very aware of how close their businesses as well as their homes were to the sea.
Would their businesses go the way of Sendai? How long would it take to recover if a wall of sea water swept down Kalakaua Avenue? Fortunately, Hawaii for the most part was spared the wrath of a major tsunami. A slightly larger wave could have wreaked havoc on our shores.
The questions all business owners (and individuals for that matter) should ask is, What can I do to be prepared for the next catastrophic event?
Mike Meyer, founder of Islanda, a managed cloud services company based in Honolulu, says implementing a solution is straightforward. You'll need to get a service provider to come down to your office and create a virtualized image of your server. This essentially means making a complete copy of all your software, applications and data ranging from the operating system to your email. The system is then "virtualized" on a USB drive and stored safely in a data or "Cloud Center" in Hawaii, on the mainland or both.
The second step involves setting up a security device called a VPN (virtual private network) at your office, which encrypts any data (i.e., email, word files, etc.) that you need to back up. The data can then be updated to your master image at the Cloud Center on a regularly scheduled basis.
In the event of a disaster that puts your physical server at the office out of commission, a "virtual server" will be created at the data center.
All you need to get access to your system on the virtual server is a laptop and a physical data line or a wireless connection. Meyer says the entire recovery process can be done in three hours or less.
The upshot: Any Hawaii businesses, whether mom and pop or enterprise level, can be operating in short order following a catastrophe.
I'm not a psychic, but sooner or later our islands might experience another natural disaster. The time to prepare is now.