Disaster Planning Is a Must-Do for Gulf Coast Businesses

May 25th, 2021
Disaster Planning Is a Must-Do for Gulf Coast Businesses

The Gulf Coast is an amazing place to call home. Gorgeous beaches, golfing, hiking, sunny skies. And it’s a great place to do business. Low taxes, a solid transportation system, a nicely diversified economy. However, it is not without its challenges, in particular when it comes to weather patterns. And dare we mention unique IT solutions challenges?

Where we live (as beautiful as it is), we should all be in a constant state-of-emergency frame of mind. Disasters can strike at any time, and organizations need to be prepared with secure IT solutions. Disaster planning is a must-have, not a nice-to-have, for Gulf Coast businesses. Your customers are counting on you to have your IT management affairs in order.

Threats Are All Around Us

Not to be all doom and gloom, but decision makers need to be realistic about the many ways that a business and itsinformation security can be compromised.

Natural Disasters

Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Ivan. Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Maria. The Gulf Coast is no stranger to natural disasters.

2020 was a record-breaking year, weather-wise. 12 named storms, including 6 hurricanes, hammered the Gulf Coast last year. The Mobile National Weather Service reported 26 tornados in the region.

Natural disasters aren’t going away. Since 1990, there has been a tenfold increase in the number of them. With our coastal location, natural disasters are an unfortunate reality for Gulf Coast businesses.

Data Breaches

Data breaches continue to increase, year over year, and 2020 was no exception. In fact, having a good percentage of the workforce transition, almost overnight, to a work-from-home environment provided opportunities galore for cybercriminals, for whom chaos is like Christmas.

Varonis shares a slew of statistics that paint a picture of this growing and evolving tech-based disaster:

  • There was a 30% increase in data breaches between April 2020 and May 2020
  • Data breaches in the healthcare industry increased by 58% last year
  • $3.86 million is the average global cost of a data breach – in the U.S. this number is $8.64 million
  • Human error is responsible for 23% of data breaches

Not only did the work-from-home mass migration bring a smile to the faces of cybercriminals, so did the huge spike in online shopping and the opportunities for credit card hacking that came along with that.


Ransomware is just what it sounds like: a nasty little piece of software which the cyberattacker uses to hold data hostage in exchange for ransom. This is on the grow, having increased by 350% since 2018. Over half of businesses were impacted by ransomware last year, so it is a cyberthreat that simply cannot be ignored. 65% of ransomware attacks are delivered via phishing emails, which brings us to our next cyber menace.

Phishing Attacks

The FBI declared phishing to be the top cyberthreat of 2020. Phishing incidents doubled from 2019 to 2020, and 75% of organizations globally experienced some manner of attack last year. 96% of phishing attacks come via email, and these emails are downright sneaky. When you take a gander at these top 5 phishing email subject lines, it’s not hard to understand how well-intentioned employees get taken in:

  1. IT: Annual Asset Inventory
  2. Changes to your health benefits
  3. Twitter: security alert – new or unusual Twitter login
  4. Amazon: Action Required | Your Amazon Prime Membership has been declined
  5. Zoom: Scheduled Meeting Error

Your Disaster Recovery Plan Checklist

Phew! Lots of boogeymen out there! But the good news is that disasters can be mitigated with the right IT management solutions. First up – a disaster recovery plan (DRP).

So, what exactly should be included on your DRP checklist?

Your Initial DRP Audit

Schedule a DRP audit (fun fact – managed services provider AGJ Systems can help you out there). Part of this audit will include determining your organizational recovery point objective (the amount of data that will be lost or need to be re-entered after an outage) and recovery time objective (the duration of time between loss and recovery). In preparation for the audit, you’ll need to gather all relevant network infrastructure documentation (critical asset inventory, warranties, services agreements, etc.).

The DRP Nitty Gritty

With the initial audit out of the way, it’s time to drill down. Key elements of this stage include:

  • Identification of the most serious threats (natural, cyber, employee error)
  • Undertaking a review of the history of unplanned incidents and outages and how they were handled
  • Identifying the incident response team
  • Incorporation of cloud solutions and backups
  • Failover business continuity plan

IT Solutions Leadership Buy-in

And last, but not least, management needs to review and approve the DRP. This critical step includes testing the plan, and then adjusting and updating it based on testing outcomes.

How AGJ Systems Can Help with IT Solutions

There is no one size fits all DRP. Your DRP needs to be customized, based on your business and customer priorities. This is where AGJ Systems comes in. As the Gulf Coast’s leading IT consulting and managed technology provider, we have a deep understanding of disaster planning and network security. Call us today for a disaster readiness assessment. Let’s have the conversation now, not when that next category 5 hurricane is coming our way.

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