5 Steps to Hurricane-Proof Your Computer Network

Storm season is upon us, but what can you do to protect your network?


By Jesse Phillips


If you have not noticed already, it’s June and there’s a tropical systems are brewing, carrying with it the potential to wreak havoc on your computer network.


In the IT support industry we call this job security. Inevitably, you will walk into work this summer and notice weird things going on: a computer doesn’t want to connect to the Internet; your Wi-Fi doesn’t seem to be working; you hear a battery backup device beeping.


Welcome to the joys of trying to maintain a computer network in the lightning and hurricane capital of the world. Are you prepared for a major storm?


I frequently talk to business owners who ask me how they can keep their data safe through Florida’s stormy summer. I tell them that 80% of IT problems can be solved by using 20% of your brain.


While you can never protect against everything, if you do a few things well and apply common sense, you can greatly reduce your exposure.


Here’s my list of the top 5 things you can do to make sure you’re protected from hurricanes and storms this summer:


1. Use a battery backup and surge protector on EVERYTHING


Plugging in a device to an unprotected power outlet is like parking your car on the train tracks. It’s not a matter of IF a train hits your car, but WHEN. As a matter of practice, don’t ever plug any device directly into a wall.


Ever. If there are any wired devices not properly protected, then NONE of your devices are properly protected, since electricity can travel over phone lines, Internet modem cables, Ethernet cables and just about any kind of wire.


2. Turn off and unplug your computers if a major storm is approaching


While there may be critical servers you probably can’t turn off on a whim, unplugging your workstations and their network cables can reduce the risk that they are affected by a power surge. The only way to truly protect something from electricity is to totally unplug it.


3. Backup your data OFFSITE


You should have a multi-tiered data backup program. My company offers one called “Data Safe” which is designed to, you guessed it, keep your data safe. It stores a local copy and uploads a copy to a remote data center so that if Florida sinks under water your data lives on happily in the cloud.


If you email me (jesse.phillips@cnaorlando.com), I can get this setup for you so you can sleep peacefully tonight.


4. Mount your server to the wall


If your server or other critical devices are sitting on the floor, all it takes is a couple inches of water to kill them. If you mount your server to a wall, you just raised the level of catastrophe necessary. Even if you don’t have a rack mountable server, you can place your server up on a table to get it farther out of harms way.


5. Define Your Critical Assets


This is probably the most important step. You should try to determine what is most important to you. There are likely 3 or 4 files that your business cannot function without.


Maybe it’s your Quickbooks file or another critical database. Develop a plan to make sure these are safe and preferably stored somewhere outside your office in the case of a major storm. You can replace a computer here or there much more easily than your mission critical data.


If you would like any help getting hurricane ready, my company Certified Network Associates can help. Email me at jesse.phillips@cnaorlando.com today.


Jesse Phillips is a Tech and IT entrepreneur based in Central Florida.