MREs or MRUs? Now’s the Time to Make Critical Choices for Hurricane Season 2018

May 17, 2018

When a fleet of monster trucks, canoes, jon boats, motor boats, kayaks, and the Cajun Navy make their way into town, you know it’s too late to make a readiness plan in advance of hurricane season. By that point, you’re probably standing in floodwaters up to your waist (or higher), and you’re realizing that your business is about to come to a screeching halt, along with the added concerns for property, plant, and possessions – both personal and professional.

But when an 18-wheeler equipped with modern workstations, Internet connectivity, telephones and printers – not to mention heating and air conditioning, 50 workspace seats, dozens of rack-mounted servers and high-speed satellite communications – rolls into town, you know you’re in good hands.

That’s what happened last week in Houston, the bullseye of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, as Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS) brought one of its seven Mobile Recovery Units (MRUs) to its Houston North Datacenter to bring attention to National Hurricane Preparedness Week. With the beginning of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season just two weeks away, Sungard AS wanted to make sure that Houston-area business and civic leaders were aware that business resilience is critical to weathering the next catastrophic natural disaster.

The Sungard AS MRU vehicles are designed to get to customer sites fast, without special transport permit requirements or road restrictions slowing them down. As a result, people can get back to work with minimal disruption. The first Mobile Recovery Unit can be on its way in as little as 24 hours, and set up within 90 minutes.

During Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy and other major storms, Sungard AS deployed its MRUs throughout the country to assist businesses struggling to get up and running. You might assume employees can muddle through working from home, or in a coffee shop or hotel. But during major disruptions like hurricanes, floods, cyberattacks or terrorist activities, entire areas can be left without power and telephony for weeks at a time.

Most employees still need a workspace to be productive. And critical business continuity staff need to gather as a team, not in isolated or dispersed across multiple locations. Workplace Recovery Services from Sungard AS provide an alternate brick-and-mortar site for key staff. Facilities are fully equipped with virtually everything people need to get on with the job: from networked PCs with familiar applications, to high-speed internet connectivity and phones, desks, seating and even a kitchen and break room. It's not so much a home-away-from-home, as an office-away-from-the-office.

If you are not near one of our brick-and-mortar centers, the Sungard AS Mobile Recovery solution can operate as a fully self-contained facility with hospital-grade diesel-generated power and a mobile VSAT unit connecting customers with their hot site or the Internet. Every unit is designed for universal accessibility.

While the MRUs are effective for on-the-spot recovery services during disasters, the Houston North Datacenter served as a valuable reminder that having a business continuity plan is essential whether you contract for mobile recovery services or not. With 27,291 square feet of computer storage space, 11,000 sq. ft. of which contains a raised floor, plus a conference room, customer office space, a kitchen, vending machines and a kitchen, businesses can rest assured their data is protected, and they won’t have to consume meals-ready-to-eat (MREs) the next time a Category 4 hurricane strikes the region.

Now that Hurricane Preparedness Week has come and gone, Business Continuity Awareness Week is underway – a global event made possible by the Business Continuity Institute, and a key vehicle to demonstrate the value that effective business continuity management holds for organizations of all types and sizes. After that, Hurricane Season 2018 will be underway – one that is expected to be even more active than 2017. Be informed, plan ahead, and take action. Sungard AS can lead you through seven steps to hurricane-ready disaster recovery.

If you couldn’t join us for the Houston Hurricane Preparedness event, take a spin through our photo album to see what you missed.

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