Even if you feel your business is not likely to face the brunt of a hurricane’s landfall, you should take steps to prepare for hurricane season. With a storm that appears to be on the way presently, and talk of a busy hurricane season ahead, it is important that any business which might face heavy storms takes extra precautions. Extreme weather of any kind, from tropical depression and storms to Category 5 hurricanes and tornadoes, can not only cause structural damage to your business, but can also cause catastrophic data loss and network damages.
Extreme Weather Checklist:
- Take your computer and any backups you own with you if you can. This applies for homes or home offices. If you only need to protect one or two computers, they’ll be safer with you than left for the storm.
- Be sure to take photographs of your office and assets prior to any storm.
- If you can’t take your system with you (you have more than one or two computers, or you have a business network set up) – be sure you have an offsite back up available, and make sure it is as up to date as possible. You should also have a hard copy of all critical business infomation that you can put on an encrypted Flash drive, or if in printed form, in a Firebox in case you have no power. When you have created a backup, be sure the following items are included:
- Contracts (clients, contractors, employees, etc.)
- (Whether your business is server-based or cloud-based, be sure to take offsite a printed list of phone numbers and email addresses for all your contacts who are crucial to business operations, including suppliers, vendors, water, gas, electricity, mobile generators, staff and clients.)
- Accounting Info (tax info, payroll spreadsheets, credit card information, accounts receivable and accounts payable info)
- Utilities Information (water, electrical, Internet provider, gas)
- Personal Data (Photographs and Documents)
- Multimedia (Videos, Music, Presentations)
- Make sure you have your Business Assets Inventory taken. This includes EVERYTHING, from computer equipment to office furniture and lunchroom items and decorations.
- Make sure you have your insurance information and phone numbers on hand
- When you prepare your office or home for a disaster:
- Shut down your computer and turn off your monitor. You should also turn off any peripherals, such as printers and external drives.
- Unplug the power cords from all devices. The area may lose power during a storm. Surges can happen when power is restored. Unplugging from the wall will help insure the devices will be protected.
- Unplug the network cable going to your computer, as well as your printer (networked printers only). Lightning can send voltage through these lines, possibly damaging your network cards.
- After ensuring all devices have been unplugged, cover your computers with a plastic bag. Wrap all equipment up in plastic and ensure they are off of the ground in a safe place. One way to do this is by placing the equipment on a sturdy table (to prevent flood water from ruining them), and then placing another sturdy piece of furniture on top (protecting the equipment from falling debris).
Upon Your Return to the Office:
- Remove any covering you placed over your computer.
- Plug in the power cords to all devices.
- Turn on the equipment starting with the peripheral devices first.
- Turn on your computer and monitor.
Your business doesn’t need to go out of business as the result of a major storm. PalmTech Computer Solutions is committed to preparing our clients to protect their business, both in making sure they have the proper technology to meet their current and future needs, and in advising them about safeguarding their businesses from weather-related, cyber and other disasters. Call us to discuss how we can help your business at (561)969-1616.
In 2005, Hurricane Wilma taught us that 2 weeks of extended power outages will kill your business. It’s not too late to replicate your server to run in the cloud in case of a direct hit by a hurricane. Operate your business from anywhere. Business Continuity Backup Plans start at $300 per month and will allow you to run your server in the cloud for 30 days free of charge. Give your people the tools they need to serve your clients and get your business running again.