Weathering Winter Storms: 5 Tips for Small Businesses

 

The winter started off a little mild in the Baltimore-Washington Region, but last year, we got clobbered with the biggest storm in decades.  Many employees didn’t get back to their offices for days. Many
organizations can successfully operate and be productive in any situation.  Is your office prepared?  Follow these steps to weather the winter storms.

1. Keep an Off-Site List of Contacts
You probably have thousands of customers and vendors. Keeping an off-site contact list will allow you to stay in touch with them and keep your business running during periods of downtime. This list should contain vendors you need to contact every
week, and any customers with current, unresolved issues. A printed paper version can be important and don’t forget to keep a list of employee phone numbers too.

2. Back Up Critical Data Off-site or in the Cloud
You have only a day or two after forecasters tell you a storm has a high chance of hitting your area. Power failures, melting floods, and even looting are all risks to your infrastructure and data that come with a severe storm.

A thorough disaster recovery plan will already accommodate the offsite storage of critical data. If you don’t have such a plan, you’ll want to back up critical data to an off-site location as soon as possible. This will give the data time to fully
transfer before the storm hits.

One of the best options is to store your backups in the cloud. Data saved in the cloud is also readily available and redundantly stored.


3. Keeping the Team Productive

Most of our accounts already hold Office 365 subscriptions, and this is one of the easiest ways to keep the team productive in an emergency.   Rarely used, but Office 365 provides a browser-based version of
Office for subscribers.  A great tip for subscribers is to test and use this if they must suddenly have to work from home for several days.   This version provides email, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive and other horizontal
applications most organizations use every day.  Most importantly, this device is independent and secure.  So, an employee could log in from home and get to these applications from any computer.

4. Have a Communication Plan
Work with your employees to create primary and secondary methods of communication during the storm.  You might want to forward your phone numbers or extensions to cell phones.  Many newer VoiP phones systems provide a lot of options,
including just carrying your office phone home and plugging it into your home Internet connect.  

Email and even texting should be part of the triage plan.  You not only want to have plans that include employees, but also, what is your message to your customers?  Some companies have used social media such
as Facebook and Twitter as methods to stay in touch as well.  Consider changing your voicemail greeting to set expectations with your accounts if an emergency hits.

5. Practice Your Plan
Test restoring your data to your servers. Ensure your local and remote backups can be used to restore operations if you suffer extended downtime. Stepping through your recovery plan makes everyone familiar with what needs to be done to get your
company back up and running in the least time possible.  Review and share the communication plan with your employees.

Need help with your own disaster recovery plan? Automated backups are your best defense against massive data loss. These systems mean one less headache when worrying about your business during a winter storm. Contact us today, and we’ll help you set
up a complete data backup procedure to ensure you don’t lose data if a catastrophic event occurs. Contact Ease Technologies today at (301)854-0010 and learn how our Ease Cloud Workspace can help keep your business prepared for any disaster.