Storm Prep Your Tech With These IT Disaster Recovery Tips

El Nino is reportedly going to create some drastic weather patterns across the globe this year.  Paired with the upcoming storm season in Canada, September is a good time to review or create your disaster preparedness plan. In this post we cover some areas to review.  If you’re in Toronto, Markham or Durham Region and you want hands on help to storm prep your tech, we’re here to serve you.

Small Business IT Disaster Preparation Tips

Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS)

We recommend a UPS for every workstation and server.

In fact, we insist on them if we are preparing your team for Managed IT Services.

We don’t sell them to you and it doesn’t cost you anything to set them up yourself, so why do we recommend them? Because they can save your computer or server in the event of a storm.  A single power surge can damage or destroy your computer or server. The cost of that loss (hardware loss + data loss / recovery + new device setup + data transfer) far exceeds the $200 -300 price tag of a quality UPS.  Look for a mid priced unit with a timed shutdown and high voltage protection.

Data Backup

Ensure you have data back up setup and tested regularly.

Just last week my dental office had a server failure and an entire days worth of dental appointments, treatment notes, billing codes and logged patient communications were lost.

They do have data backup in place but their failure happened before their automated data back up at 8:00pm. The good news is, since they have and test data backup, they only lost one days worth of data and were able to recover and re-enter lost data relatively quickly, with minimal impact to operations.

Several years ago I worked with another dental office who suffered 3 weeks worth of data loss. They had to completely shut down their office and cancel all revenue generating appointments for over a full month in order to deal with their data loss and data re-entry. How much money do you think that cost them? Too much. Please test your data back up today, or contact us to set yours up.

Why test data backup? To be sure you can actually recover from it. Not all data backup methods are created equal.  And on that note, moving to the cloud can ease data backup and disaster recovery pains. If they fit your business and budget, hybrid or cloud solutions move your essential data to the cloud where it is safe from fire, flood, theft and loss, and easily accessible and downloadable in the event of a disaster on your premises. If you would like to schedule an IT consultation to discuss cloud options, we are happy to help.

Master Password List

Do you have a master password list for every computer, server, network switch and router in your office? Do you have the security system master code? How about a list of account credentials for any online accounts or software programs (SaaS) your team uses? A master password list is always handy to have, and even more so during a disaster or disaster recovery effort.

Team Safety Plan

Assign a safety marshall for your office. This is a person who will marshall your team to safety in the event of a disaster.

Create safe exit strategies for your team in the event of a disaster.

Having an assigned person and a plan helps combat chaos.

Review the role of the marshall and the exit plan at least quarterly during a team meeting. Practice or regular review builds confidence so you can better navigate a disaster should it happen to you. Remember, no one ever thinks they will be struck by a car or some other tragedy until the moment they are stricken.  Preparation is prudent.

Business Continuity Plans

Every business is different so there is no single template answer here. Do take some time during your next team meeting to start a conversation about a business continuity plan in the event of a disaster.

For example, if you’re an optometrist with a retail store in a converted home without a backup generator, and you lose power, how can operations continue?

Perhaps you can have a manual credit card imprinter and sales slips on hand, or have a backup Square credit card processor than can run off a cellphone with a data plan – no local electricity required.  Paired with a printed list of stock and prices, you can continue sales and appointments with ease.

Start a discussion with your team and document your business continuity plans, and be sure to briefly review them once per quarter to keep everyone fresh on what to do in the event of a storm or failure.

Of businesses who suffer a disaster event, 25% close permanently. Increase your odds by preparing for such an event.

Stay safe this storm season, and be sure to prep your tech.

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