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Four IT Disaster-Recovery Lessons from the North Texas Tornadoes

Four IT Disaster-Recovery Lessons from the North Texas Tornadoes

On October 20, 2019, multiple tornados touched down across Dallas, including an EF-3 tornado that traveled more than 15 miles while producing winds up to 140 miles per hour. The storm caused an estimated $2 billion in damage, the costliest in Texas history.

 

THE CHALLENGE

The tornado directly hit the headquarters of Texas Colon & Rectal Specialists (TCRS), one of the largest colorectal care specialist groups in the United States. The main office is the epicenter behind the 17-surgeon operation, providing all administrative services to the practice, including billing, scheduling, and accounting services. The office was completely inoperable with no power and extensive water damage, causing a cave into the first floor. Employees had to be redeployed to work in other offices. Two months later, the office is still undergoing reconstruction.

 

The human impact of the IT outage could potentially be devastating not only for the practice but its patients who are being screened and treated for the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.

 

THE SOLUTION

After seeing the TCRS building during the news coverage of the tornado’s destruction, DKB immediately contacted its client to see how they could help. Springing into action, DKB had TCRS’ IT systems back up and running on October 22, less than 48 hours after impact.

“Our patients are always our key concern, and telecom downtime impacts our ability to communicate with our patients needing immediate response to their various questions and concerns regarding their healthcare. We are dependent on our phones as our lifeline to our patients and referring physician offices,” said Nancy Bowman, Executive Director at TCRS.

“We are thrilled to have a proactive IT/telecom support partner by our side, who jumped into action immediately after the storm,” said Bowman. “Having that partnership, combined with a solid cloud infrastructure in place meant minimal phone and internet downtime and inconvenience for our patients after such a catastrophic event.”

 

Timeline

October 21: Contacted TCRS. The damage was so extensive that TCRS wasn’t able to enter the area to get a full assessment.

 

October 22: On-site by noon with TCRS staff to assess the damage. Heartplace, a long partner of TCRS, was kind enough to offer space to continue operations with the internet provided. After assessing damage, DKB marked and moved equipment and unplugged electronics. Removed network equipment and reinstalled it at Heartplace.

 

October 23: Retrieved all usable computers, monitors, and phones. Installed equipment and configured Firewall at Heartplace. Tested phones and computers and had everything up by noon.

TAKEAWAYS

 

1) Prepare for disaster.

Create an IT disaster-recovery plan in conjunction with a business continuity plan. These plans allow for strategies to restore hardware, applications, and data in time to meet the needs of business recovery.

 

2) Invest in the cloud. 

If TCRS had local resources on-site, rather than in the cloud, servers could have been damaged. The business would have lost the invaluable emails, business, and user data. Because servers were hosted in the cloud, TCRS had the ability to operate anywhere with proper network configuration. Another business in the same building had onsite servers lost their data.

 

3) Design the right IT infrastructure.

Not only does the right design provide scalability, but it also allows your network to be consistent and experience fewer disruptions that can affect your bottom line. Knowing your data is secure with redundancy gives you a peace of mind over your security. DKB ensures that data is protected with three backup copies in three different locations and provides a cloud user environment that stores all data in the cloud instead of locally on workstations.

 

4) Hire a trusted IT firm.

DKB provides a full range of services to TCRS, including network and infrastructure management, centralized services that manage patching, desktop and server optimization, malware protection, and backup management, Service Desk, and vCTO, and vCIO services. Because of the existing business relationship and knowledge of its systems, DKB was able to remediate the situation immediately.

 

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