In the business world, we often hear about companies storming the market or riding the wave of success. But today, let us talk about a different kind of storm — one that can wreak havoc on the IT infrastructure of your business if you are not properly prepared. Every year, the Atlantic hurricane season visits the East Coast as early as June and runs through late November, a period during which we witness not only the power of nature, but also the potential for prolonged disruptions to life.
Storm readiness preparations will equip your business with safety protocols and a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) to respond quickly to imminent threats posed by adverse weather.
As we delve into our hurricane readiness guide, you will find the essential tools to fortify your business against natural disasters well before they even appear on the forecast.
Actionable Hurricane Readiness Tips for IT Resilience
1. Business Continuity Planning
We are all familiar with the destructive power and disruptive aftermath of hurricanes. Data loss and system downtime can be disastrous, causing financial losses and crippling operations. Your Business Continuity Plan helps ensure greater business resiliency for whatever you may face.
Net Friends Pro Tip #1:
Schedule an annual meeting with your stakeholders in June each year to discuss the risks of severe weather to your business. Create a list of things you can work on in the weeks after that meeting to mitigate those risks.
2. Test Your IT Resilience Ahead of Disruptions
Like a seasoned captain scanning the horizon for storm clouds, being prepared for hurricanes is essential. A Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) ensures your data is protected and you have an easier return to business uptime.
Net Friends Pro Tip #2:
Identify a few extremely critical business documents and ask your IT provider to test restoring those documents from a recent backup. Make sure to ask them to restore from an offsite backup. This way you can sleep better knowing you have proof that if you lost these files, your IT provider could get them back for you.
3. Protect Your Business Critical Resources
Now that we know why we should be prepared, let's dive into more practical steps you can follow. Securing your backup solutions will be like having a lifeboat ready —your data is protected and up-to-date in case of a disaster. Next, don't forget to batten down the hatches by physically securing your equipment (much like how a pirate guards their treasure).
Net Friends Pro Tip #3:
All modern backup tools should allow for both on-site and off-site backups. Make sure your business critical data is being backed up both ways!
4. Work with Your IT Vendor to Verify Your Coverage
Not all heroes wear capes – some sail in on rescue ships! Enter Managed Service Providers, or MSPs, the valiant protectors of your IT kingdom. Think of them as your trusted IT first mates, handling all the IT hurricane preparations, while you focus on captaining your business. IT professionals play a crucial role in ensuring the core functions of your business are optimized and effective. They handle a range of tasks such as provisioning, monitoring, and promptly restoring your online presence.
Net Friends Pro Tip #4:
Make sure to review your property insurance coverage for your business. If you need your MSP's help to fully restore your business after a major disaster, do you know if all your expenses will be covered? Do you know how much your deductible is?
5. Establish Your Storm Communication Plan
If MSPs are the guardians of the IT seas, then Net Friends is the formidable fortress! From help desk support and managed backups to outsourced IT staffing, we offer formidable solutions that act like a lighthouse guiding you through the storm.
Net Friends Pro Tip #5:
The best time to work on a communication plan for a disaster is when you are not in the middle of one! Chat with us about the communication plan Net Friends can help you create, so your staff remains properly informed, safe, and productive in a crisis.
Additional Resources to Enhance Your IT Hurricane Readiness
While this guide equips you to formulate a readiness plan for natural disasters like hurricanes, we've got even more valuable resources to highlight. Ready.gov is a reliable source for comprehensive disaster preparedness guides that share general and state-specific information to reference as you develop your hurricane preparedness, communications, and post-storm plan. Learn more about how Net Friends can help with business continuity too.
Building Your Checklist
- Make sure your server room/network closet is clean and well-organized with everything elevated, attached to the right racks, and off the floor/out of the flood.
- Protect from surges and short outages by investing in good battery/power supply systems.
- Consider moving critical resources off-site/to the cloud.
- Need to keep the work site up? Consider a generator and mobile hotspots.
- Have a plan in place for how to communicate with your team and customers during and after a hurricane.
- Make sure your team has access to a communication system that is not dependent on internet or cell phone service.
- Consider using a satellite phone or radio for communication.
- Have a plan in place for how to recover your IT systems after a hurricane.
- Make sure you have backups of your data and systems in a secure location.
- Test your recovery plan regularly to make sure it is up-to-date and works as expected.
Things to Consider
- How can I prepare IT infrastructure for power outages during a hurricane?
- What steps can I take to maintain communication during internet disruptions?
- How can I ensure the security of my employees' remote work setups during a hurricane?
- What are the key steps to follow for post-hurricane recovery and data restoration?
"The storm put us on backup generators, but good news: our IT system is up and running thanks to the Net Friends team!"
Director of IT at Lincoln Community Health Center
As you prepare your business for the challenges ahead, remember that knowledge is the most potent tool at your disposal. With your newfound insights discovered here, you will be well-equipped to forge a robust readiness plan against hurricanes. In addition, have a look at our free actionable resource: 2023 Hurricane IT Readiness Checklist. Visit ready.gov for critical state-specific facts to refine your hurricane preparedness, correspondence, and post-storm approaches. Contact Net Friends today to discuss how to improve your business resilience.