Disaster Prep: An IT Hurricane Checklist

Do you live in a hurricane-prone area? Whether it's for current or future disasters, here's how to ensure your business continuity.

One of the worst disasters that can strike your servers is a natural one. That’s why you need to be extra prepared when you know a hurricane is on its way.

Without a proper plan in place, you risk hardware damage and permanent data loss – putting the future of your business in jeopardy. Here’s what you need to do.

Back up your files both onsite and offsite

This should be a regular business activity regardless, but it’s especially important when a hurricane is on its way. Sending your most vital data to a public or private cloud destination – one far away from the weather event – is a must.

If you don’t have that option, you can back it up and send it off site physically, then retrieve it after the storm passes.

Backing up your data both onsite and offsite is a great strategy not just for hurricanes, but for fires, human error, and ransomware attacks. If one of your storage locations is compromised, you always have another copy stored elsewhere.

Secure the windows near IT systems

Make sure the windows near your IT systems are extra secure with plywood, if you can’t relocate them. This is typically the case with networking devices, servers, and sizable printers.

Secure things inside as well

Despite your best efforts, high winds may enter the building anyway. That’s why you need to anchor your heavy, rack-mounted IT hardware just in case.

Raise your hardware height and move to safe rooms

Make sure your hardware is secured above flood height and move them to safe areas. That way, if water makes it into the building they will remain mostly undamaged.

Manually power down devices or disable auto-restart

One feature many devices have is the ability to automatically power back on after an electrical outage. This is a problem, because if they power back on and water is present, this can cause a damaging electrical short. To prevent this, manually power them down or disable this restart feature.

It is best just to shut down all computers and unplug machines during a hurricane, even if this means a temporary loss in service continuity. Unplug your Ethernet cables from computers and docking stations.

Evaluate your inventory and take photos

Before the hurricane hits, grab your insurance information and evaluate your inventory. Have a camera or a charged smartphone to take before and after photos to document potential damages.

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