Is your IT environment “weather proof”?
IT companies are constantly worried about a variety of possible disruptions to their business: cybersecurity attacks, intellectual property theft, broken hardware – the list goes on. However, we often forget the one threat that has been around since before our businesses opened their doors: the weather.
All companies are subject to changes in seasons and weather patterns, but IT professionals are often the ones on the receiving end of a panicked phone call when a system shuts down due to weather. Unplanned downtime due to weather can halt operations and therefore cost your business a significant amount of money. In particular, if your company is subject to our brutal Canadian winters, with freezing cold snowstorms and high susceptibility to power outages, it’s worth reviewing your business’ weather contingency plans. The goal is to ensure that downtime and data loss is prevented. The question of whether your IT environment is “weather proof” is often overlooked even though it is one of the causes of business interruptions that can easily be mitigated.
Most IT professionals take advantage of cloud based or hosted solutions to best address weather concerns. However, in the marketplace, there are still a significant number of organizations that rely on their on-premise server room setups to recoup their initial investments or on certain hardware dependencies, which necessitate local presence.
At Fencecore, ensuring that your local presence is adequately resilient against power outages is one of our key considerations to maximize uptime. Here is a short checklist that you can use to rate how prepared your organization is for weather-related incidents:
- Is your server room monitored? Will you be proactively alerted about weather-related issues or will you only find out there is an incident when your end users report service unavailability? If the power goes out at your company, a quick response time will be a factor in minimizing the damage. Make sure you have some kind of sensor that notifies you as soon as a power failure has occurred (look into voltage sensor alerting or temperature sensors alerts)
- Do you have a written and tested power up/shutdown procedure that covers all the essential equipment?
- Can the UPS (uninterruptible power supply) sustain the required load until everything is shut down? If you do not have a UPS, you should invest in one – it will provide emergency power to a load when the input power source or main power fails.
- Is the shutdown process automated?
- Is the power up process automated?
- Does the UPS allow for batteries to charge sufficiently before an automated power up cycle begins?
- Do you have a periodic power-cycle testing schedule?
- Do you have or need a generator in case of an extended outage?
Organizations can develop a written business/continuity plan for power outages which will help outline how to continue to deliver products and services to your customers regardless of any internal operational issues that may occur because of outages. In this plan, you can specify the procedures that help mitigate weather risks. Test out your procedures in advance – do not wait for the power outage to occur to realize that something isn’t working.
It is also worth noting that in today’s Covid-19 environment, a lot of users are working remotely. Should they experience a power outage at home, it is now more important than ever to have a setup that allows unattended and orderly power down/up cycle to prevent data loss and minimize downtime.
If you would like more tips on how to make your IT environment “weather proof”, feel free to reach out to one of our experts today.