Dealing with Small Disasters: Power Outage

Dealing with Small Disasters: Power Outage

June 30

I arrived at work early one morning with a list of things I wanted to get accomplished before my tranquil office space became less so.

Of course, someone had other plans. Not half an hour into my work, the electricity goes out in the building. No phones, no Internet and a not-so-great cell phone reception.

Now, before you think it could be worse, I definitely know that it could have been. Some of my colleagues were stuck in the elevator for over an hour.

However, the work that I had to do that morning relied heavily on the ability to use my computer and have Internet access.

I also remember times when our in-house server would go down, and we would have to wait for the IT guy to get it back online.

We aren’t talking natural disasters (I have had the hurricane thing happen) or data breaches, but with all of those little things, you begin to realize that every time the power goes out or the server needs to be rebooted, your business is losing productivity and money.

While a power outage to an entire building is out of your hands, if you do own your own building or know where the servers are, you can probably take matters into your own hands while you wait for your managed service provider to answer your S.O.S.

Four years ago, The Wall Street Journal tackled this topic back 2010, recommending that businesses have backup batteries or generators to give employees enough time to get the most pressing job done and shut down their equipment safely.

Businesses can also install protective software on computers so that in the event of an outage, data isn’t destroyed.

Have power, but no Internet? Exigent Technologies suggests having a secondary connection that will kick in if the first one goes down. For example, if you get Internet through cable, your backup would be DSL.

Small & Medium Business Magazine had an interesting graph showing what happens when the Internet goes down. The majority of companies responding to the poll said “loss of productivity/revenue” though right behind that was the “business shuts down.”

In addition to some of the things I mentioned above, the article also mentioned having multiple ISP service providers or be able to temporarily relocate.

YSF Magazine printed five steps a small business can do if there is a web outage. I think one of the more important ones is let customers and key stakeholders know what is happening, which could perhaps mean sending someone home to use their computer. Keep the details coming, but don’t make too many promises in case the two-hour time your service provider gave you becomes 24 hours.

Remember a few years ago when Go Daddy’s web hosting services went down? It hosted some 5 million sites– Yahoo’s Mail service was out and Gmail’s email arrival was slowed.

Those types of outages unfortunately are out of your hands, so it is a good idea to have a plan in place in case you have to switch to phone or fax orders.

Photo credit: brewbooks via Flickr