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Hurricane Season is Ending, but Planning Continues

We made it through the Hurricane season…so it must be time to start preparing for the next one.

Our preparations for the hurricane season were exceptionally thorough, culminating in a highly successful Disaster Recovery (DR) exercise conducted in June. This was a full-scale test that included dozens of individuals from various departments of both the Clerk and Board of County Commissioners.

One of the key highlights of this test was the introduction of a cutting-edge storage solution that replaced the old traditional spinning drives with solid-state drives.  The implementation of this new type of storage brought about a remarkable improvement in overall system performance and most notably, enhances our ability to fully test all normal functions during the DR exercise. This, in turn, bolstered the authenticity and effectiveness of our Disaster Recovery scenario testing and our confidence that we are truly prepared for disaster scenarios.

The hurricane season in 2023 remained as active as the previous year and we encountered a particularly close call with Hurricane Idalia, which initially appeared to be following a trajectory similar to Hurricane Ian in the Southwest Florida area. Tracking Hurricane Idalia, much like Ian, proved to be challenging in predicting its path, creating uncertainty about the timing of our initial DR preparations. These preparations encompassed verifying backups, last-minute data transfers and staff coordination. To surmount these challenges, we adopted a proactive approach by commencing the DR preparations, irrespective of Hurricane Idalia’s projected path.

Looking ahead to the next hurricane season, we are taking steps to enhance our disaster readiness. This includes a comprehensive replacement of our network equipment and a thorough review of our post-disaster communication protocols, particularly regarding radios. Radios play a crucial role in coordinating essential personnel when cellular communications are compromised after a hurricane makes landfall. The replacement of our network equipment will ensure that our off-site data center closely mirrors our on-premises system, a critical factor in post-disaster recovery efforts, as it’s imperative that our systems can handle the workload necessary for a successful recovery.

Our preparations for the current Hurricane season and plans for the coming Hurricane season are not all that different from your personal situations at home. Consider examining how you prepared this past year. Think back to when Hurricane Idalia was in the news and try to remember the things you wished you had done to better prepare. For example, did you wish you had bought a generator to avoid the rush, or did you wish you had installed impact-resistant glass so you didn’t have to install the heavy metal panels that make your home dark. Now is the time to initiate those upgrades to your hurricane preparedness so that the next hurricane season is less stressful.

Read and download the full November 2023 newsletter here!