Hurricane fails to stir Bacardi's business continuity plan

As Hurricane Gonzalo bore down on Bermuda recently, IT Security Services Manager Ronald W. Stan had spirits maker Bacardi prepared for the worst. The 152-year-old company was not shaken by the Category 2 storm, despite tens of thousands on the island without power.

With winds reaching 110 mph and Gonzalo taking down trees and tossing around boats, Stan and his crew stuck to its operating procedure to make sure Bacardi's headquarters and network remained standing and secure (Bacardi does not manufacture its product on the British island).

[ STORM RELATED: Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery in a Tornado Zone ]

Here is a Q&A with Stan on how the company handled operations during the storm.

What kind of precautions did you have in place to back up your systems in the event of a natural disaster?

We have two main concerns to address: 1) the welfare of our local employees [Bacardi employs 70 workers in Bermuda] in the lead up to and aftermath of a hurricane, and 2) making sure the office is safe to occupy after any storm and that our main business processes can resume effective operations.

During the last storm, the SMT was able to be in contact with each other via hand held radios to obtain updates on staff situations. Post storm we implement a communications cascade to contact all our staff to learn of any damage and/or injuries to business and/or personal property.

Having our main application platforms "cloud based" has largely eliminated the need to have traditional "disaster backup" facilities in Bermuda, or at any of our facilities and offices. Up until last year though, we had a "hot site bunker room" on standby in Bermuda in a separate location from our office. It was hosted by the main Bermuda-based telecoms provider and was actually in its data center, thus providing direct connections to off-island communications links undersea cables.

The infrastructure in Bermuda is generally very resilient. Bacardi utilizes buried dark fiber from our building to our off-island communications provider, enabling storm proof communications links required to keep our key applications available to our users. We also have separate path backup links in place. Our building has an underground power supply line - again storm resilient - from our local power facility, and in the unlikely event of power outage at the building, we have a UPS in place to carry loads in our computer room until our backup generator kicks in.

What kind of physical damage did you have at your facility to the building etc.?

Bacardi has not sustained any major damage to its office in Bermuda during any of the hurricanes or storms since the current global HQ campus was built in 1972.

What kind of systems do you use in the Bermuda facilities?

Bacardi Limited uses SAP as our ERP and have an Oracle based consolidation system at present. However, all our key applications are SaaS / Cloud Based / Hosted, so no key servers/databases actually are housed in Bermuda. Our email platform is cloud hosted, as well.    

These systems support our global executive decision-making team based at the Bacardi Limited worldwide headquarters office in Bermuda. They also support the financial planning, consolidation and reporting as part of our global finance operation, which is based in the office, as well as our global trading and operations function.

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