If you run your business from the Southeast, the Gulf of Mexico, or certain parts of the East Coast, then you’re probably familiar with hurricane season.
For people living in the Atlantic basin, hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th each year. Most permanent residents of these areas are familiar with hurricane prep, especially when it comes to our homes. However, it’s easy to miss certain steps when it comes to hurricane-prepping your business.
Extreme weather affects more than just the people and businesses where a storm hits. For example, disrupted service or damaged technology in Florida can easily throw off a client’s day in California. Because of this, it’s critical to take steps to protect your technology – and your data – from inclement weather.
This handy 7-step checklist will guide you through hurricane prep for the season. Even if you live outside of a hurricane zone, you should still take steps to prepare. If one of your clients or vendors experiences a tech disaster, you don’t want it impacting your business!
- Secure your physical location(s). This might seem like a no-brainer, but even the biggest office buildings need storm preparations. Just like you’d prep your home, prep your physical business location with the same steps from gov. If you are able, turn off and unplug everything you can in the last day before the hurricane arrives.
- Keep technology high and dry. As we all know, water is technology’s natural enemy. Besides the havoc water damage can wreak on your business’s technology, a flood can be a potential fire risk if sparks from a short-out fly too far. Especially if you live in a high-risk flood area, it’s smart to put all computers, phones, and other electronics somewhere safe, like a tabletop, desk, or high shelf. Double-check that all electronics are plugged into surge protectors, or unplugged altogether before you leave.
- Take inventory. While you’re prepping your technology, take pictures and create an inventory of all of your electronics and other expensive items. In the event of a disaster, this makes the insurance claim process much easier.
- Back up your critical business data and sensitive client data. We say this a lot at GTS – back up your data! Ask yourself, “What happens if my business loses power?” If you have to work from a temporary location, or evacuate your area, what files and programs do you need to run your business remotely? This is where remote monitoring and management services come in handy – your managed IT provider can help you create offsite backups, store your data online, and ensure you have a way to remote access everything you need to stay in business.
- Put a plan in place for disaster recovery. You backed up your data, triple-checked your technology, took pictures of your office and your cool European tchotchkes for potential insurance claims – but do you know what to do if you need to recover from storm damage? Make sure to create a clear plan for disaster recovery, outlining who is in charge of what, who to talk to, where to go, and where everything important is stored. If you work with a managed service provider like GTS, your IT team is an excellent resource to help you with this.
- Create an offline directory for employees, clients, and important contacts. During hurricanes and the recovery period after, power and Internet outages can make it difficult to stay in touch. When you’re backing up your data, it’s a smart idea to create a list of important contacts – employees, clients, vendors, etc. – and store it on your personal cell phone, or keep a printed version as a hard copy. This way, if you need to get in touch with someone but your Internet is down, you’ve got all your phone numbers and alternate contact methods ready to rock.
- Practice what you’d do during a hurricane. This is perhaps the most important step of all. When it’s crunch time, it may be difficult to remember a plan you put in place months ago. However, it is much easier to follow a drill you’ve practiced yourself and with employees. Even if you live in an area that’s not affected by hurricanes, you should still keep a procedure in place for storms and other disasters, and make sure you – and your employees – know what to do in the event of an emergency.
With the proper preparation, you can protect your business from the hazards associated with hurricane season. At Grand Technology Solutions, we offer remote monitoring and management, technology advice, and other services that help protect your business BEFORE disaster strikes. No matter your location, we’re here to help. Give us a call at (904) 606-6011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.