While it appears the DC Metro area is not going to get the brunt of the storm this time around, it is important to prepare your business for potential disasters like Hurricane Florence.
In addition to the potential for damaging winds, other things to consider include flooding, loss of electricity for prolonged times and the potential loss of internet and telecommunication systems. In order to help you prepare your business, here are a list of things you can do to get your business ready.
Review/Update/Test your Business Continuity Plan
If you are reading this and saying, what is a Business Continuity Plan, now is probably not the best time to be creating a complex one but at a minimum, your business continuity plan should a written down document that describes all of the products and services you offer your clients as well as the tools and technologies you use to operate your business.
Within that document and list should be a plan of those things you can do, should you find yourself unable to operate any of those processes or deliver any of those services.
Review Your Backups
While OptfinITy clients have backups in place which are tested and confirmed regularly, the first thing you should be doing is making sure ALL of your data is backed up AND can be restored. It is not enough to make sure that your program confirms that the data is backed up, you need to test and make sure you can restore the data.
This includes but is not limited to server backups, cloud backups, and workstation backups. Additionally, it is important to make sure you have backed up the configuration of your network devices. While a network device could get an electrical surge and fail, making sure the system is backed up is the difference between being down for 1 day (time to get the new hardware) and 2-3 days to reconfigure it. If you are not doing this regularly, talk to us about how you can.
Check Your Phone Systems and Backup Systems
Most businesses have moved to VOIP based phone systems which means that once the internet goes down (due to power other issues), their phones go down. Many of these phone carriers/systems will allow you to forward calls to a single external number, whether that is a landline or someone’s cell phone. You should look into how to do this and then put in place a plan for handling these phone calls.
Communicate! Consider using Social Media
So what happens if power is out, the phones don’t work and you don’t have access to your systems? You need to plan for this. Some of those things you can do include:
- Save a copy of all contacts and emails for your clients, employees and vendors locally – even consider printing them out.
- Make sure you can access email outside of the office (if you aren’t using cloud based email, now is the time to consider it)
- Consider using social media channels to let people know the status of your phones, office.
- Make sure to let your employees know of the plans before it happens, so that everyone stays out of harms way, especially if you can’t email when the storm occurs.
Make sure your Battery Backup Works
For those systems which are not mission critical, we recommend powering down and unplugging workstations, servers and other network equipment until the storm has passed through. For those which are mission critical, it is imperative to make sure that your battery backup is working and configured properly. Computer operating systems can become corrupt if their power is cut suddenly and damage can occur to the hardware.
Monitor your on-premises server rooms.
If you have a server room in an office that could lose power, know how long your equipment can run on your battery backup power. Make sure you have a way to monitor if the power goes out and you lose cooling. You might be astonished at how much heat servers generate and how quickly a server room gets so hot that your equipment overheats.
Unsure what to do?
If you currently work with OptfinITy, just give us a call at 703-790-0400 and talk with your account manager. If you are not already working with OptfinITy, give us a call as well and we will see how we can help.