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Preparing Your IT for Hurricanes in the Coastal Area - Part 1 - Planning

Coastal Computer - Thursday, February 18, 2016

Getting ready for hurricane season in the Coastal area typically means stocking up on fresh water, canned and dry food, and for more thorough preparedness: plywood, nails or deck screws, flashlights, a generator, and more.

For businesses, food may not be a big priority as staff will likely be at home for any closings. They may purchase supplies to secure the exterior of the building and move equipment in any areas that are prone to flooding.

For anyone who’s lived in the Golden Isles, we know the routine. However, there’s an important part that many businesses and people forget, preparing your IT, computers and devices for hurricane season.

Plan to Be Prepared

Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. When it comes to preparing your IT for hurricane season, the first step is to have a well-thought out plan in place.

Without a plan when a hurricane strikes, or even when it threatens to make landfall, you will be scrambling to know what to do, and are more likely to overlook something. Having a plan will also help keep you calm and provide peace of mind, knowing that, after first and foremost making sure you and your loved one’s are ok, your important information, for business, and personal uses will be protected throughout the storm.

Basic Elements of an IT Hurricane or Disaster Preparedness Plan

The basic elements of any plan to prepare for a hurricane or other disaster which may impact your IT operations or damage computers and devices are:

  • Backup
  • Secure Equipment
  • Optional: Off-site relocation
  • Restore

Backup

When it comes to backup, you shouldn’t rely on the cloud as your only means of backup. While we love the new features offered by Office365 and Microsoft’s Azure platform, the cloud should only be one part of your backup routine. The reason why is that when you get to restoring your files, it can take an impractical amount of time to restore GBs of data in local storage. It’s best to keep a local backup of all your files too.

Secure Equipment

Securing equipment covers everything from moving equipment out of areas that are prone to flooding, to disconnecting sensitive equipment to prevent damage from a lightning strike or surge caused by a damaged power line. Securing equipment also means keeping it secure so that nothing goes missing during the time before, during, and after the hurricane.

Optional: Off-site relocation

For businesses and organizations that must maintain operations throughout a hurricane or disaster, planning for off-site relocation should be made. There should be an inland secure area with multiple points of Internet and phone access.

Restore

Often the most overlooked part of an IT hurricane preparedness plan or disaster scenario plan is the restore or recovery process. After the storm passes, you should have a plan for restoring your IT and computers so you can quickly get back to doing business.

Plan to Stay in Business

After the security of family, friends, and coworkers, getting back to business and staying in business during hurricane season is the most important thing. By creating a plan to prepare your IT and computers for backup and restoration, you can prevent loss days and hours which can equal lost profits.

The team at Coastal has helped a number of businesses and organizations in the Coastal area plan, prepare, and quickly resume operations during hurricane season here in the Golden Isles. We’re here to help your business too. In Part 2. of this two-part series, we’ll talk about why you should start your plan into action 72 hours before the expected landfall of a hurricane or tropical storm.