Let’s face it: disasters happen. Natural disasters and man-made disaster are all over the news these days. I came home a couple weeks back from travel and instead of starting the barbeque in my backyard, I got to pack my car to evacuate from fires near my house. Luckily we were fine, but what if your business wasn’t? Or if a flood came and left your servers under 3 feet of mud? Would your rental software be able to bounce back?
Natural disasters often benefit rental businesses by increasing demand for rental equipment to clean up after the damage. To benefit from that you need to make sure you stay operational. A key to that is to develop a business continuity and disaster preparedness plan for your rental business. One aspect you should look at are your systems and determine which are critical and how long you can accept them being down.
For example, if your business requires your rental software up and running continually, and you can only tolerate a very short outage, you need to invest in the right system to support that. You will need a secure a primary and backup server and replicate your data in real-time between both systems. If an emergency strikes you will automatically be able to access the data from the backup server and continue working. Then when the primary server is available again, you can replicate the data back to the primary server. Both servers should be in different state-of-the-art data centers which feature hardened environments, backup power and cooling, and extreme security to ensure your data is protected.
If on the other hand, you can tolerate some downtime you may choose a less costly method and just backup your rental data daily. Then if something happens to your primary server you can revert to the last copy of the backup and proceed to work. You may still have a gap in your data flows, but at least the bulk of your transactions will be intact.
In 2011, Cresco Equipment Rentals has a multi-disk failure which put their rental software out of business for multiple days. Download their case study to find out what they did to make sure that never happens again.