It’s been quite a year already and the last thing you need is for your business to be affected by bad weather. Thankfully, our handy guide can help…

Just imagine: you’ve deployed your whole team to work from home around COVID lockdown and you’ve finally got to grips with all the new tech, then bad weather strikes. Are your business systems robust enough to withstand bad weather, and will your business be able to keep operating?

Snow, flooding and heavy winds can all create physical challenges that take business systems offline, either by knocking out the physical systems themselves through power outages for example, or preventing you from physically accessing the place where your systems are located e.g. your office. One advantage of COVID is that you’ve likely already deployed an offsite solution and therefore won’t be restricted if your office becomes blocked, but will it be resilient enough to withstand the physical impact of bad weather and allow you to keep working?

Even if your team is working from home, bad weather can still affect businesses that:

  • store data onsite at their office, and have set up VPN access for example to provide home-working employees with file access. What happens if your office is flooded or winds take out the power?
  • have migrated to the cloud, but only have it in one location, forgetting that ‘cloud’ still means it has to be physically stored somewhere in the world. What happens if your cloud provider is taken offline?
  • need the internet to access their files, either via an employee’s internet connection, or via the internet connection into the office. What happens if one or both of these go offline – can your team still work?

So how can you ensure business system resilience?

1. Back up, back up, back up

Make sure that wherever you store your business data, it is not the sole location. Be that your office, or a cloud-based system, having a single copy of your files leaves you completely vulnerable to going offline. The advantages of being able to access files from anywhere mean that businesses often forget that cloud-based storage is still physically located somewhere, which means it is a hardware system that is vulnerable. Good practice is to ensure you have a back-up, at least every 24 hours, meaning if your main directory goes offline, you can establish a link to the back-up. Ask our team about either our server to cloud backup, or cloud to cloud backup which provides a second, high-quality copy of your data. Don’t forget, any back-up you run should be with a separate provider or in a separate location to your main data, and you’ll need a virus scanner installed too, to add protection against ransomware moving through your backups.

Speak to our team on 01453 700 800 for more info.

2. Establish a business continuity plan

Spend some time in advance thinking about what would happen if there was a physical problem at your site (or wherever your data is stored), or a digital problem like a cyberattack. Think through the steps you’d need to take to bring systems back online, as well as the critical business functions, and consider both the risk and the potential vulnerabilities. Then start thinking about how to plug those vulnerabilities. Solutions may include staff and out of office communications, appropriate steps to establish a connection with the back-up version of your data, how to bring your users back online, and where you might go to create a new back up now you’re back to having only one copy of your files.

Your first priority is to get a connection re-established quickly so that your teams can get back to work as quickly as possible. Your second priority is to ensure that you’re maintaining your business resilience, just in case of further issues.

3. Consider employees working from home

Historically, most businesses probably consider bad weather as a physical barrier, i.e. your employees struggling to get to the office in order to work. The solution for this therefore is to offer home working. What happens if your employees are already home working though (thanks COVID) and it is in fact their systems that are taken offline by bad weather. Obviously, if your employee’s own property has been impacted, they’ll have bigger concerns than how to get back working, but if it’s simply a case that their connections have been knocked offline, as a business you want them back working as quickly as possible. You need to think about:

  • How long are they likely to be impacted? There’s a big difference between a few hours lost productivity and a few days.
  • What are their critical job functions and who else can pick them up?
  • What tech solutions exist to help bridge the gap? For example:
    • Hosted softphone application: enabling your employees to make business phone calls through their mobile (or PC), as if it was the office phone (data or internet connection is required). Ask our team about PIPPA.
    • WiFi in a box: if your employee’s internet connection has been taken offline and the temporary replacement is cripplingly slow (if there is one at all), then why not consider offering them WiFi in a box. It operates through data (just like your mobile phone 3G/4G), meaning your employee can get online, even if they don’t have broadband. It can be a much cheaper alternative than having an employee twiddle their thumbs.
    • Many more. The great thing about tech is that there really is a solution for every problem and most can be remotely and securely deployed, whatever the circumstances.

Why not speak to our team on 01453 700 800 about our free IT audits and how we can help you plan effectively for every scenario…