Weather has been getting more and more unpredictable. Over the last few years, Rockland County has experienced 3 major storms that left significant parts of the county without power for extended periods of time. Even if you did have power, its likely that you were without internet connectivity.
Here are a few tips that might save you from technology headaches during the next storm:
1. Consider what documents and data that you might need if you are unable to access your workplace because of a power outage. Copy your files to a USB key or a laptop and take it home. Even if these files are available from an online disk, you may not have internet access.
2. Make a printed copy of your contact list with email addresses and cell phone numbers. Make a printed copy of your calendar for next week. You may need to reschedule appointments on the fly. If your business makes deliveries to customers or receives deliveries from suppliers, you may need to reschedule those deliveries.
3. Before the storm hits, agree on an emergency communication plan with your firm’s staff. How will they know if the office will be open on the next morning? How will they know when the office will be open if not the usual time? Agree on multiple ways to communicate since phone lines may be done for some and email inaccessible for others.
4. Shut down all non-essential equipment before the storm. Hopefully you have a UPS installed for computers that run unattended, that will shut them down gracefully in the event of a power outage. However, there is no need to test this under fire. Unprotected computers may be subject to repeated power outages and voltage fluctuations that could damage them.
5. If you only back up your data to a local USB drive or NAS device, you might consider disconnecting it and taking it home or to another location. Extreme weather is one of the leading causes of site-wide equipment and data loss. Do not leave your only data backup sitting next to your server. They will likely be destroyed at the same time. Before the next big storm, investigate online data backup. It’s inexpensive and secure.
6. Parts of Rockland are prone to flooding. If you are in one of these areas, don’t leave expensive computer equipment sitting on the floor. Raise it up to reduce the likelihood of water damage. Computers really don’t like water.
7. Resolve to spend more time thinking about your business continuity plan. This is not something that you pull together in the 24 hours before a storm hits. It requires planning and careful thought, and it addresses more than just technology. It is a plan for how you will conduct your business in a variety of disaster scenarios. If you want something to provoke your thought process, check out the following link from JP Morgan Chase on Disaster Preparedness Planning.