Why are Cloud Solutions Useful in Disaster Zones and Hazardous Environments?

Mar 26, 2024

Cloud solutions are frequently being deployed to some of the most extreme environments, including natural disasters and hazardous areas. Cloud computing can be used to help coordinate relief efforts, rebuild vital infrastructure, establish communications, or record and document scientific data to help with future disasters. 

There are a number of reasons why cloud solutions are particularly useful in extreme or hazardous environments.

No Infrastructure Needed

Disaster areas and extreme hazards are characterised partly by a lack of infrastructure—there may be no physical road network to move goods around, communications and telephone lines may be down, Internet signals and Wi-Fi connections may be disrupted, and data storage devices can be damaged or inaccessible through fire and flooding.

Depending on the nature of the disaster, secure places to store equipment and data may be limited also.

For these reasons, cloud solutions are particularly suited to disaster recovery efforts, coordinating relief, and scientific data gathering. Cloud solutions do not require any physical infrastructure or storage/networking equipment in order to operate effectively.

Hardware such as servers and hard drives for storing data, networking cables, phone lines, and physical transport itself can all be replaced with cloud solutions, facilitating relief efforts and information analysis.

Built-in Disaster Recovery

Cloud Solution providers will offer disaster recovery as a standard service as part of the overall package. When business continuity is interrupted by adverse weather effects or any other type of natural disaster, the organisation can continue to run applications as normal—they just switch over from the disaster-affected physical servers to the cloud environment managed by the solutions provider. 

The recovery time can be much faster than it otherwise would be and in some cases more or less instantaneous.

Data Held Remotely and Securely

With cloud solutions, the data is held securely in off-site locations—particularly useful for gathering scientific data on disasters as there will be less chance of losing the data in the adverse conditions of the weather effects you are trying to record.

With many extreme events and disasters, there is a resulting lack of services, such as healthcare and law enforcement. In the aftermath of a hurricane with widespread looting, or in the midst of a conflict zone with armed forces or criminal groups operating in the area, it would be unfeasible to leave expensive computers and equipment lying around, processing and storing the data. There’s a good chance it would not still be there when you came back to retrieve the data.

Using cloud solutions the data is kept secure by being held remotely and based in decentralised data centres, this reduces the risk of information loss or interruptions to relief work.

Unlimited Capacity for Computation, Storage, and Networking

Operating in a cloud environment, there is practically no limit to the amount of data storage or computational power that can be drawn upon, in any location or setting.

This is particularly useful for geospatial science and analysis of weather patterns in hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and tornados.

Using sophisticated monitoring and alerting tools along with high-resolution sensors and satellite remote sensing, massive data sets are generated from various regions of the world, presenting an immediate need for storage and processing power to crunch the data.

With cloud solutions, it is not only possible to store and compute the data remotely, but scientists from various fields and real-world locations can collaborate on and share information, helping to refine data sets and gain further understanding of natural disasters and how to mitigate their effects. 

Dynamic, Scalable, and Flexible

Cloud solutions allow organisations to easily ramp up or down their operations such as aid efforts, construction work, or scientific projects in disaster-stricken areas.

Instead of needing to invest in workspaces, equipment, installations, and arranging things like static IP addresses and routing, with cloud computing, it is much simpler to add into a project any extra resources or personnel as the situation demands it.

When you are entering a hazardous or extreme environment, it is not always clear exactly what resources and personnel will be necessary to get the job done—no disaster zone is exactly the same as the last.

Due to the unpredictable nature of disaster relief work and rebuilding efforts, having a flexible and easily scalable option for expanding operations or cutting back resources is entirely necessary for managing your organisation’s work in a cost-effective manner.   

Which Cloud Services are Most Suitable in Disaster Zones and Hazardous Environments?

There are a number of cloud-based services that could aid your organisation when it comes to operating from within a live disaster area, coordinating aid efforts, gathering scientific data, or simply working in extremely hazardous environments.

For this example, we will use a hurricane-stricken coastal town or city with additional flooding and water damage, in order to represent one of the more extreme conditions that cloud solutions can continue to operate from within.

If your organisation needs to operate from within a disaster zone for humanitarian or scientific reasons, you should look for the following service options from any provider

  • Voip Telephony

  • Secure Data Storage and Transfer

  • Business Continuity

  • Infrastructure as a Service 

  • Desktop as a Service

  • Live Infrastructure Monitoring

  • Vulnerability and Risk Management

  • Cloud-based Collaboration

Challenges of Using Cloud Technology in Disaster Zones

Despite the efficacy of cloud solutions in extreme conditions, there are a number of key challenges to setting up and managing a cloud-based service in a live disaster area.

Two things that cloud technology needs are a power supply and some form of network connectivity. Both of these may be significantly impaired or absent altogether at the precise location where the disaster has occurred.

These challenges can be mitigated with hop-on connections and emerging technology such as UAV-assisted emergency networks where drones flying above the area can provide internet access to devices based on the ground.  

Lyon Tech Managed Cloud Solutions

At Lyon Tech, we provide organisations with the means to conduct their business from any corner of the globe and under any circumstances or adverse conditions.

If you would like to know more about shifting towards the cloud environment for robust and reliable operational processes in any setting, get in touch with our expert analysts today.

We can provide the full rundown on which cloud services would have the most impact on your organisation and help you tailor your own bespoke cloud solutions package to suit the needs of your operations.