Disaster Planning - A Quick Checklist

June 06, 2011 by Alex Collins, IT Services Consultant

Because the United States is only halfway through tornado season and hurricane season is almost here, IT consulting companies suggest that your business take the time to make sure that it is prepared. Regardless of whether or not your company has a business continuity plan, it should still take steps to protect onsite information systems and business critical services. To help your business prepare for any potential natural disaster, IT services providers suggest that your business run through the following checklist and implement remedies when needed.

  • Check UPS batteries. It is critical that UPS devices have functioning batteries that will hold enough charge to allow for all attached servers and critical network equipment to properly shut down in the event of a power loss. If your business’s UPS device batteries won’t hold enough charge for equipment to safely shutdown, or if your company needs more UPS devices, IT services providers suggest that your company purchase new batteries and devices from a reputable company that will stand behind its product.

  • Check information system backups. IT outsourcing providers recommend you your company takes the time to make sure that backups of critical information systems are happening regularly. Be sure to verify that the data is being backed up correctly so that, in the event that your company needs to restore data, you have access to complete and error-free backups

  • Store backups offsite. Backing up your data does won’t do your business any good if the media is destroyed along with the building that houses it. IT providers suggest that your company encrypt its backups and store them in a safe location that will not be affected by the same types of natural disaster that might affect your company’s primary business site. Consider automated offsite backups which can be scheduled for convenience, reliability, and easy restoration.

  • Secure information systems media. In the event that your company’s information systems are damaged, your company will need to have access to operating systems, applications, and registration keys. IT support providers recommend that your company create duplicate copies of important applications with their registration keys and then store them offsite in a secure location.

  • Keep warranties updated. While your business site might not suffer from physical damage caused by a natural disaster, information systems can still be damaged by power fluctuations that go hand-in-hand with natural disasters. Warranties, when current, will often cover damage caused by power fluctuations. IT consulting companies recommend that your business take the time to ensure that warranties are updated.

  • Evaluate insurance coverage. IT services providers recommend that your business evaluate its insurance policy on a yearly basis and any time that it makes significant investments in information systems. It is imperative to have a policy that is adequate to cover the current costs of repairing or replacing damaged electronics. Also make surethat your policy will cover the costs of data recovery and restoration in the event that data was not backed up properly.

  • Update vendor contact information. Make sure that your company has updated information for all of its vendors. IT services providers recommend that your business contact vendors that provide critical services and support and make sure that they are able to support your business’s needs in the event of a disaster. If your business finds that it needs to select new vendors consider that regional disasters can also affect the vendors ability to provide support; be sure to choose a vendor in that is far enough away to not be affected by localized natural disasters that might affect your company.

  • Evaluate location of water pipes. Because water damage is the number one threat to most electronics and burst pipes are common when natural disasters strike, evaluate where your company’s information systems are in relation to water pipes. IT support providers advise that your business’s servers and critical electronics should not be stored underneath pipes. If possible, your business should relocate critical devices that are stored near water pipes. Additionally, make sure that your insurance covers water damage to electronics.

  • Modify phone services. Depending on what type of phone service your company has, it may be possible to automatically switch over phone service to alternative numbers in the event of an emergency. IT outsourcing companies recommend that your company consider partnering with a VoIP service provider because transferring phone service from one location to another is often an active feature provided as standard service by many VoIP services.

  • Educate staff. Provide training for your business’s employees so they know what to do in the event of a natural disaster. IT consulting companies suggest that if your company has a business continuity plan in place, it take the time to review it with staff so that they will know what to do in the event of any emergency.

Learn more

The above checklist is a general list of ways to prepare for any potential natural disaster—keep in mind that your business may have unique needs that were not addressed. To learn more about protecting your business from disaster, please contact the experts at All Covered.