Hurricane season presents additional challenges for business owners in terms of data safety.  Reviewing your network and data security needs today can help prevent a disaster from hitting your network should a natural disaster hit your office.  To help keep your systems safe, we make the following recommendations:

  1. Backup, backup, and backup again.  You can never have too many copies of your data.  You should have a full primary backup of your data that someone takes offsite.  For example, your office manager rotates out a weekly USB hard drive and takes it offsite to a safe deposit box or a home safe.  This ensures that full copies of all of your systems are made and available if your servers are completely destroyed.  Just be sure to remember to grab that hard drive if you have to evacuate.  You should pair this with an automated online backup that sends daily copies of your data to a reliable data center in a different geographic location.  If you do these two backups, you will be able to restore your full systems, and then restore up to the date data and get back in business.
  2. Watch out for water.  Even an inch or two of water on the floor can destroy electronic equipment.  Make sure that batteries, surge protectors, computers, and all of their cords and cables are several inches off the floor.  Tying up cables and purchasing equipment stands can help keep equipment dry and safe from electrical shock even if the floor is wet.  Turn off and unplug equipment if you are leaving your office due to a storm event.
  3. Beware of surges.  Storms bring lightning which can take out an entire organization with a single building strike.  Protect all of your valuable equipment with a whole building surge protection system installed by a licensed electrician.  Also ensure that all of your valuable equipment is protected by UPS systems (batteries) or professional surge protectors.
  4. Answer the call.  Traditional phone systems are tied to local phone lines and local power.  Consider switching to a cloud based VOIP solution that is not tied to a single spot.  Should your business or your entire area lose power, your hosted VOIP system is still answering calls for you.  Your phones can be run from any location with power and Internet or forwarded to cell phones that still work.  Be sure your clients, vendors and employees can communicate with your business during extended outages.
  5. Test your UPS batteries.  Batteries in UPS systems last 2-3 years and then need to be replaced.  Ensure your systems are healthy and able to keep your servers running during power outages.  Make sure a communication cable and software are properly installed so the battery can shut down the server cleanly during extended power outages.  Otherwise, your server will crash once the battery is exhausted.
  6. Have a disaster recovery plan and test it.  Developing a disaster recovery plan during a disaster is the wrong time.  Work with a professional IT consulting firm to ensure that you have a solid plan in place and are ready to execute it during any type of emergency.  Test it, and work out the kinks of any shortcomings.  You’ll be glad you did.

For additional information on business continuity, disaster recovery planning or any IT question you might have, please call the experts at ExcalTech.  They can be reached at 727-437-0020.

 

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