Hurricane Season 2018 starts today, June 1st, as per the National Hurricane Centerand we’ve already had a named storm. Hurricane preparedness plans for businesses in 2018 should be executed immediately! We’ve put together a list of contact information you’ll need for a hurricane preparedness plan. This list can serve as a checklist for your business’s hurricane preparedness plan.
If you’re not sure if your business is prepared we have some things you need to consider today. For example, where is your office located and what type of events will make it inaccessible? Is it on high ground or near a body of water? Does the area have good cell phone service and access to medical facilities? Basic, common sense situational awareness will allow you to look at what you have going on and know how to improve it or plan for a breach.
- Communicating with customers and employees – You’ll want to have the contact info for your phone system vendor if you have an on premise PBX. If you’re using a Hosted Unified Communicationssolution you’ll want your carrier’s contact info with you. In addition, you’ll want to keep your billing telephone and account numbers handy. One thing to keep in mind is your particular system’s forwarding works and how to route calls in an emergency.
- Connectivity– Keeping your office connected to your other offices, systems, customers, and employees will depend upon the quality of your connectivity. We always recommend diverse carriers, paths, routes, and core switching. Don’t rely on diverse carriers alone, it doesn’t guarantee diversity. You’ll need to make sure your website and other customer facing items stay functional. Phones, again, are a big part of letting the world know you’re still there and taking care of business.
- Power – Nothing else happens without electricity. If you can have a generator, it’s a great help but remember to keep it on high ground. Generators should be tested regularly and kept above a flood line. We just had two “100 year” storm events in 10 days in western NC so as we officially enter hurricane season 2018, the hurricane preparedness plan for your business should include fuel delivery and on site reserves to keep your generator running. Employing alternative energy and large UPS systems will prove less cost effective while standard UPS and surge protection is recommended on all outlets.
- Systems– Taking advantage of the cloud and data centers to make your mission essential systems available is easier than. Applications like RingCentral, Zoho, Microsoft’s Office365, and AWS are globally redundant platforms, available on the cheap, that will keep your company open for business. As long as you can get an internet connection, you can log in. Backing up systems and data is essential as is testing those backups. Our partners’ DRaaS Solutions provide high availability appliances twinned to the cloud with prebuilt sandbox environments to test, as well as, globally redundant Virtual Desktop environments to ensure access to your company’s systems, without fail, throughout the whole 2018 hurricane season.
Physicals – Water is always an issue during hurricane season. Worry for wind is warranted as well. Flooding can make your office inaccessible. If you’re in an office building you’ll want your facilities folks to make sure the landlord has pumps to remove any water flow. All electronic equipment, or the iron as we IT folks call it, should be away from areas where water can gather like a basement. Access controls and cameras should remain functional but you’ll want to have a discussion around whether you want your doors to automatically lock or unlock in the event of failure.
All in all, hurricane season 2018 is here and though that’s good for our business, we can’t help everyone. Hopefully, our experiences and this series of posts will help you company to remain operational through hurricanes or any other related weather event and natural disaster.
If you do want some help and you’re in IT, facilities, finance, or operations please feel free to reach out but don’t wait too long. We can’t take on every client but the ones we do get to work with have the benefit of some great stories from our experiences getting businesses ready and recovered from natural disasters.