Are You Ready for Bad Weather?

Tis the season - well, severe weather season anyway… and now is as good of time as any to think about your IT infrastructure and if it will weather a storm. Preparing your IT infrastructure for a hurricane, flood, tornado, or any severe weather is something we all should be doing if you do not already have a plan ready to go. Unfortunately, all too often the questions that surround preparedness are left until the last minute, the moment when the local news and weather stations are saying the storm is on its way.

Here are five IT infrastructure items you should be thinking about when it comes to your business and your ability to weather the storm.

Plan: What is your plan? You have to have a plan and everyone has to understand that plan. Take the time to write up a plan that includes who is responsible for what when it comes to your IT assets, IT services and IT resources.

Communication: Communication is key. How will everyone communicate and who will be in charge. Cell phones, group text messaging, and email can all be effective, just make sure you have everyone's cell phone and home numbers documented, printed out and readily available. Who will communicate to the staff during an outage? You will also want to consider client communication. Voicemails should be changed and numbers forwarded if possible. Do you have the ability to forward your numbers to cell phones or another office that is out of the danger zone? Call your phone provider and check on your options.

Checklist: Create a checklist of the steps needed to secure your IT data. Verify your latest backups were successful and transport them offsite to a secure location (good time to think about a cloud-based backup solution if you don't already have one). Are your UPS systems charged and ready for power outages? Have a plan to shut down equipment in preparation for power loss. Generators should be topped off and tested for failover if local grid power is lost. Some offices may need to plan for water if they are in areas prone to flooding, make sure you have moved all equipment to higher desks or shelving, this includes your desktops, small UPS systems, and unplugging all peripheral devices inside offices and cubicles.

Failover: If you have a failover solution in place, now is a good time to make sure it has been recently tested and that it is ready in case you have to activate it. You should set a time based on the severity of the weather if and when to perform the failover.

After the storm: Back to the "plan", you need one to come back online and get back to normal operations. This includes communicating to staff to come into the office, bringing your IT devices online and verifying all servers and services are functioning. In more complex IT environments, this can sometimes be as bad as or worse than bringing the gear down. Have a plan with all the steps to get your business back online and operating as it was before the storm.

These are only a few items you should be thinking about and planning for in preparation for bad weather. Depending on the size of your business, the planning for severe weather can be straight forward or very complex. Either way, make sure you have talked with your IT staff or Managed IT Services provider and put a plan together for you to weather the storm. If you have any concerns about IT and weather preparedness, you can contact us at 713.351.5196. 

Written by Michael Standley at 00:00

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