Is your business ready for a Category 5 hurricane?

Roland Garcia knows all about protecting critical data.

When Hurricane Andrew struck in 1992, water damage ruined film and art files at his marketing firm, Original Impressions. Since then, his company has gone digital, and these days he protects his company's vital information from severe weather by storing it where even Category 5 winds can't touch it.

''Every year you look at your expenses and you go down the line,'' Garcia says. ``And this is one that I would never, I hope, have to remove.''

Original Impressions backs up all of its data in the same place as Bacardi USA, Deutsche Telecom and US Southern Command. It's a colorful building in downtown Miami run by Miami-based Terremark.

Think of it as a computer fort: a well defended shelter with seven-inch-thick walls, armed security, biometric access points and enough fuel to survive two weeks without FPL.

''There's no single event that would take out this entire facility,'' says Terremark vice president Kendall Peterson. 'We utilize the `defense-in-depth' mentality. . . . Any one failure would not render this building inoperable.''


Providers like Terremark offer what's called colocation: housing a client's servers in a hardened structure while leaving control of the servers in the client's hands. Consumers may be satisfied backing up their files on an external hard drive, but some companies with mission-critical data are opting for a lot more protection in the face of a hurricane.

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