Natural and manmade disasters and other catastrophic events pose a serious threat to the human lives and livelihood of organizations around the world. The challenge for organizations and emergency responders today is to make themselves more resilient in the face of the unknown, and become more agile, flexible and functional when disaster strikes. Not if, but when. In the light of the recent hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes, organizations are seeking proactive strategies to protect their information technology assets.
Many organizations turn to rugged technology for a reliable and affordable solution to the challenge. Rugged computers and tablets are increasingly popular across a variety of industries, and disaster preparedness is one of the reasons the adoption of rugged technology is booming.
Rugged technology comes with several features critical during and after a disaster:
- MIL-STD-810G certified
- Designed for harsh, rugged environments with extreme temperatures
- Ingress protection IP65 – water-, dust- and debris- proof
- Optionally fanless (more efficient cooling system and power consumption, but also superior ingress protection)
- Easy-to-deploy and integrate, advanced compatibility options, i.e. legacy ports, PoE
- Drop, vibration and shock protection
- High performance, superior cooling, and Electromagnetic Interference/Electromagnetic Compatibility certifications
- Internal backup batteries or hot-swappable batteries for uninterrupted uptime
- Advanced authentication and encryption for data security
- Advanced connectivity options
Healthcare, military, government, education, oil, and gas, retail and logistics companies and organizations across the globe now count on rugged technology to keep their critical business data safe, accessible and functional in the event of a disaster. First responders have long been enjoying the advantages of rugged tablets in disaster response.
Rugged technology is cost-effective. Due to its durability and uptime reliability, long lifespan, MTBF and low fail rate, its cost of ownership is significantly lower than that of a consumer-grade PC or tablet when used in rugged environments. Accounting for military-grade, shock, vibration and waterproof rugged computers and mobile tablets during disaster preparedness planning enables companies to save more resources for disaster response, and rely on technology that will stay functional during and after a disaster.
Rugged technology on-site and in the field helps organizations maintain their personnel connected in the event of a disaster. Should WiFi or LAN connection fail, 3G, 4G or Power-over-Ethernet will keep the headquarters in the know of their personnel location, allow to maintain data sync or wrap up the operations and save data securely.
When powered by internal batteries or hot-swappable batteries, rugged devices can run uninterrupted for as long as the swappable batteries are getting charged, or up to several hours otherwise. Having an up-to-date map of personnel location and needs, as well as their special skills, certifications and experience helps decision-makers coordinate rescue or response efforts efficiently.
At the same time, the affected personnel in the field have significantly improved chances of not only survival but timely shut down of operations with all data saved. As is the case with first responders, coordinated actions, teleconferencing, ongoing data sync is critical for the successful rescue of victims.
Securing the integrity and protection of confidential data in the event of a disaster is paramount. Financial data, health records, human resource database, inventory, proprietary information, pending patents, mergers – your employees carry and upload gigabytes of corporate secrets to company computers and mobile devices. When a device is lost or stolen, which can happen easily during or after a disaster, a company must ensure the data on a lost device can not be accessed by unauthorized entities. Rugged technology ensures such level of advanced authorization with a fingerprint reader, smart card or CAC reader, or RFID technology.
Furthermore, if rugged devices are backed by an internal power source, the employees will be able to save the current data and shut down in an appropriate manner. The rugged technology effectively minimizes data loss or corruption during disasters.
Supply chains are especially vulnerable to disruptions caused by disasters, when an operation out of sync or disrupted can cause millions in damage. Disrupted global supply chains such as relief organizations, medicine, water and basic food suppliers, can leave millions of victims cut off from critical resources. Suppliers, in this case, suffer significant losses.
First responders, relief suppliers, and global supply chains need to know who needs the resources first and where. Keeping the on-site and in the field personnel connected helps supply chains track their resources efficiently and rationally during a disaster, preventing or minimizing downtime. Due to the high mobility of rugged technology, companies increase their situational awareness, identify damage or potential vulnerability in real time and act accordingly. This flexibility and reliability enable the companies to make their operations more resilient and agile during unexpected events.
Crisis Response – Staying Operational in Disconnected Areas
The first moments that follow a disaster are often the most critical for victims, as well as equipment and data integrity. During these moments the traditional communication infrastructure is most likely to fail.
Companies need to be able to gather, sync and share critical data, coordinate operations and communicate in disconnected environments. When high-bandwidth network connectivity is unavailable, it is critical for data to be saved locally to computers or mobile devices for further sync when connectivity is restored. Better yet, if the computers and mobile devices are equipped with alternative connectivity options for timely coordination, and rugged technology comes with advanced connectivity.
Rugged technology is indispensable for companies recovering after a disaster – they need to assess damage and submit orders immediately after the event, or during an ongoing event. Such advanced connectivity makes systems more efficient, improving overall response time.
Coordinating Response Efforts and Delivering Resources
Coordinated response and collaboration are critical for organizations recovering after a disaster. Bringing the people, resources and safeguarding IT assets from different departments, branches and locations is critical, and rugged technology helps headquarters maintain contact with employees in different locations and ensures data security and integrity.
Rugged technology ensures connectivity and uptime, providing organizations with real-time data about affected facilities, available resources and urgent needs. Decision-makers can make ad hoc analysis to decide how to deliver resources where they are needed most, which operations must be prioritized, and which can be paused, minimizing the damage. Organizations have better chances of coordinating efforts with first responders in delivering aid to affected facilities if their critical systems remain operational.
You can’t predict the future, but you can make your organization more resilient, agile and prepared in the face of the unexpected, and effectively prevent it from destroying your valuable IT assets. Not to mention the life-saving potential of rugged technologies.
The benefits of rugged technologies in ensuring business continuity and data integrity in the event of disasters:
- Eases the strain of disaster preparedness planning.
- Decreases downtime in the event of a disaster.
- Keeps isolated areas/employees connected.
- Provides a safe and secure means of saving data.
- Keeps locally stored data secure in the case of device loss or theft.
- Ensures business continues uninterrupted.
- Facilitates coordination of response efforts.