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September is the Height of Hurricane Season: Tips for Storm Prep

September is known for being National Disaster Preparedness Month as well as the height of hurricane season for those on or near the coastlines. Is your business prepared in the event of a hurricane or bad storms? Do you have a plan in place for how your business will get back up and running if a disaster were to strike? We have gathered some tips for preparing your business for this season.

1. Business Continuity Plan (BCP)

It’s time to dust off your Business Continuity Plan and see how well it still applies. Your BCP should include how to contact fellow employees and clients (or patients) in case the office is unavailable. This includes where to meet and what you will need to function as a company. Distribute cell and home numbers to key team members. It is also wise to assign an out of area contact to be available to receive information from your employees in case of emergency. If you need an example, we’d be happy to review our BCP with you!

2. Off-site Backups

It is a best practice that you have at least two copies of backups – we recommend a local copy and an off-site copy. If your backups are only kept on-site, please make sure to take a copy to a secure off-site location, or worse-case, place it in a fireproof and waterproof safe.

3. Power Off All Equipment

The loss of power is expected when a hurricane or tropical storm hits. Please shut down your equipment in order to avoid abrupt shutdowns. This includes computers, servers, phone systems, fax machines, copiers, UPS’s, etc. Also, you may want to discuss with your building’s management office how they plan to deal with the situation – some building management groups may completely turn off power to their building before the storm hits.

4. Ensure Cables are Labeled Properly

In case you need to disconnect any of your equipment, we recommend you take a few moments to label the cables before you unplug them. This step will help you reconnect the equipment and get back up and running faster after the disaster has passed.

5. Remove Equipment from Floor and Move Away from Windows

Flooding can create significant issues with computer equipment. Please ensure that all equipment is at least 12 inches off the ground. Make sure to also move all equipment at least 6 feet away from windows.

6. Document All Technical Support Numbers

It is important to document all technical support numbers and take them with you off-site. For example: phone and account numbers for your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and telephone provider. If you do not have access to your office for some time after the disaster, you will need to contact these providers quickly to make other arrangements. Consider physically documenting this information since computers may not be accessible.

7. Take Pictures of Your Office and All Equipment

Digital pictures will be handy if your office were to be affected by a hurricane or storm and you needed to file a claim on your insurance. Make sure you save the pictures in a location you can access them if the disaster takes out your office. We recommend saving these pictures on your server and include them in your backup selections.

8. Have Backup Methods of Communication

If your server and/or ISP are not up and running, you will need to communicate through a different method. Cell phones may not work well after a disaster, and having a secondary phone available, like a satellite phone, will be helpful. Also consider an outside e-mail address you can use if the office email is not working.

At Garner IT we pride ourselves on being proactive and having plans in place before disaster strikes. We even offer free Network Health Checks for your business. The Network Health Check will provide you with valuable information – or at least verification – about how well your business network is prepared for a disaster. We’ll determine the status of your computer system’s ability to recover rapidly and continue business operations. For your FREE Network Health Check give us a call at 850.250.3210 or drop by our offices at 1330 Harrison Avenue, Panama City, Bay County, Florida. We are happy to answer all your queries and provide customized solutions to your problems.

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