Skip to main content

Climate Change Threats and Increasing Demand for Disaster Recovery

As climate change accelerates, the UK is finding itself facing extreme weather events with increasing frequency and intensity. Aside from the obvious physical risks this poses, it also creates a significant challenge for the IT sector as the resilience of its infrastructure is being tested like never before. Flooding, storms, and heatwaves threaten not just the physical assets of business IT systems, but also the continuity of services that companies rely on so heavily. As the threats increase, so does the business world’s demand for a more robust, responsive, and even predictive level of disaster recovery.

In this article we delve into the evolving landscape of disaster recovery, highlighting the critical need for effective strategies to identify and mitigate these emerging climate-related threats. My aim, as always, is to cut through the complexity of the subject matter and offer clear, actionable insights, exploring how businesses can adapt to safeguard their operations against the unpredictable, while remaining resilient in the face of climate change’s growing impacts.

Climate Change and its Impacts on the UK

Disaster Recovery Quote 1According to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), since 1880 the average global temperature has increased by at least 1.1°C, with the majority of this warming occurring since 1975 at a rate of roughly 0.2°C per decade. The past nine years have been the warmest since modern records began, highlighting the accelerating pace of climate change. In the UK this has translated into a trend towards warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers. The frequency of extreme weather events has surged, with all the top ten warmest years in the UK occurring since 2002 – you don’t have to think too far back to remember floods, storms, and heatwaves that had people wondering when the other seven plagues would strike. As climate threats and the risk to your organisation’s data and tech increase, what are you currently doing to develop disaster recovery strategies to cope with these changes?

Challenges for IT Infrastructure

Disaster Recovery Quote 2Extreme weather events pose significant risks to IT infrastructure. Flooding can devastate data centres, storms can disrupt network connections, and heatwaves can overheat and damage hardware. The resilience of any business’s digital systems to withstand these natural forces is paramount to maintaining the service continuity you or your customers would expect. For instance, the winter storms of 2013/14 and 2015/16 created so much disruption to essential services that significant economic losses were incurred across the market, highlighting the vulnerability of the UK’s infrastructure to climate-related events. It also highlighted the vital importance of vigilant data backup and hyper-cautious disaster recovery services.

The Rising Need for Disaster Recovery Planning

As the weather becomes increasingly unpredictable, this necessitates a forward-thinking approach to disaster recovery. And, as work practices and technologies change, we need to embrace solutions that will not only work today, but will also be fit for purpose in the future. We therefore focus on three areas of modern-day disaster recovery planning here: the risks and rewards of remote working, cloud systems, and what projections for the future can tell us today.

  • Climate Change and Remote Working:
    Remote working – which was slowly and steadily on the rise before 2020, then grew rapidly during the Covid-19 pandemic – has introduced both opportunities and challenges in the context of disaster recovery. While many people have now gone back to their offices, in most cases those businesses have introduced new flexible working practices where staff are allowed to work some of the week from home. HR regulations due this year will give new starters more freedom than ever to dictate (with a strong business case to support it) where they would like to work from. Therefore, remote or hybrid working is both a current and growing issue when it comes to data backup and disaster recovery. On the one hand, the fact that the workforce is spread out across numerous locations allows for business operations to continue unimpeded by physical disruptions. On the other, it requires businesses to consider the resilience of remote work environments to climate-induced disruptions. Ensuring that remote systems are robust and secure has become a critical component of any comprehensive disaster recovery plan. There is now a new emphasis on versatile, secure, and efficient data backup strategies, with businesses adopting a mix of technologies and approaches, that include backup agents, file sync and share software, and cloud-based solutions. The right choice must be made to provide the necessary level of flexibility and resilience to protect your organisational data across a dispersed workforce.
  • The Benefits of Cloud-Based Data Systems:
    Disaster Recovery Quote 3Disaster recovery solutions need to be scalable, flexible, and resilient to offer a buffer against the unpredictability of extreme weather events. Cloud-based solutions offer a wide variety of benefits over traditional set-ups. These include:
    • Cost-effectiveness. Less need for physical infrastructure means lower operating costs and a pay-as-you-go fee model.
    • Rapid recovery times. Cloud services are accessible 24/7, offering faster recovery and restoration than traditional methods, minimising downtime.
    • Location flexibility. Cloud services can choose to locate their data centres in areas where there is a lower impact from climate change.
    • Disaster protection for your disaster recovery solution. Most data centres these days have sophisticated fire and flooding detection and suppression systems making them safer places for your data to reside.
    • Backup your backup. Many data centres will likely have their own disaster recovery protocols in place, so that if the unthinkable were to happen and the building where your data is stored is destroyed, your data is still likely to be recoverable.

    Businesses leveraging cloud-based solutions can quickly adapt to changing conditions, ensuring data integrity and continuity of operations. The transition to cloud computing is not just a technological upgrade but a strategic move towards greater disaster resilience.

  • Future Projections and Preparedness:
    Data Backup Quote 4Looking ahead, the UK’s climate is expected to continue its trend towards more extreme weather conditions – hotter weather, stronger, more frequent storms, higher rainfall leading to a greater risk of flooding, and so on. Projections over the next 50 years suggest that winters could become even warmer and up to 30% wetter, while summers could see temperatures rise by up to 6°C in some areas. These changes demand a proactive approach to disaster recovery planning right now, one that both anticipates future challenges that your business may face as a result and develops strategies to mitigate them effectively.

Don’t be King Canute

What has been discussed on the fringes for decades has now become a sharp reality. Climate change-led threats are very real, but thankfully advances in technology have provided a whole suite of solutions to ensure that your data is kept safe and secure. Now all you need to do is to determine which solution is right for your business.

As we stand on the precipice of potentially irreversible environmental shifts, the resilience of your IT infrastructure, and how this is maintained, should be of strategic concern and regularly assessed for suitability. Don’t be King Canute, standing on the shoreline trying to hold back the tide through willpower alone or you might end up with your data being washed out to sea (quite literally). Develop a thoroughly robust disaster recovery plan now to make sure that you are investing in an infrastructure that will safeguard your digital future against the dangers of an ever-changing climate. Should you need any help in this area, all you need do is to ask as we have extensive experience in this arena.

For more information on Disaster Recovery contact Assembly Managed Services.

Telephone: +44 (0)20 3795 6880

Have you enjoyed this blog? If so, why not share it on your preferred social media platform?