Aug. 28, 2019
Your business may be damaged or face disruption over the Labor Day weekend, will your website continue running? With the likelihood that disruption of activities may occur, I thought it might be helpful if I supplied some tips from previous experiences. Some parts of South Florida were down for weeks following past Hurricanes, others even longer. The risk is in not doing anything, at the least keep your lines of communication open.
Never before have so many people used their smartphones to access the internet. Today 55% of all internet traffic is from mobile devices. Previous hurricanes cut most people off, but cell phone service has always been the first to come back on. Now with more people using their phones, they are going to be looking for information online, especially if they can't call your business. If your phones are down and your website is too, people will not know what your status is and how to contact you.
First, contact your phone provider, this is important should the office phones go down. Get access to your business account and set up a message with updates regularly. I recommend adding the date and time so that people know when the message was updated. Florida Power and Light always start their message with "Updated at ..." Make sure you have the access codes for your phone system so that you can remotely forward phone calls to a working number in the event of an outage or update the message.
If your website is hosted on internal servers which are in the path of the hurricane you have more to be concerned with. If the phones and internet fail your website will be down until power, phones, and internet are back up and running. One way to prevent this is to have your DNS settings point to a secondary backup server. A backup server will automatically receive the rerouted traffic should your server go down. It doesn't need all of the functionality of your regular site, but it will be a great way to keep in contact with employees, customers, and vendors. Make sure your website team has access to the remote server so that you can post updates and other vital information.
Many people don't host their website on a local server instead use a company like Hostek or GoDaddy to handle their websites for them. Most internet hosting companies are clear of the storm path, so you should be okay. If your website hosting company operates in South Florida, they should have a backup emergency plan, but you should check in with your hosting company to be on the safe side. Make sure you and your internet team has access to the website servers so that you can post information and connect with customers and vendors should the offices be inaccessible or unusable.
Many employees do not keep their access information for office email, and some may not be able to get access to email. Set up an auto-reply email for all of your email accounts, and make sure to include a link to a page that will have updates and contact information. Keeping employees, customers, and vendors up to date is especially essential were some projects may be delayed or permanently canceled. If you have a shipment coming and no one to receive it that could be a problem and would be better handled if they could contact your organization.
One final tip. If you backup your business on the cloud regularly, then you're good to go. If you're a small business or you don't backup regularly do so immediately. If your offices are damaged, you may not be able to restore the files and the damage to your business ruinous. Back everything up before the weekend or when you close for the storm, and take a backup with you if possible and store it somewhere safe.
The key is being prepared. Make sure you have a plan in place. Best case scenario, you'll not need it but have it for the next storm.
One last piece of advice. Be careful the scammers are going to be out in force trying to take advantage of the disruption. Do not lessen your security precautions unless it could lead to physical harm. Because many employees will be using their computers to access email and files, there are risks associated with that as well. Don't open the floodgates, because all that will do is let all the water in.
Visitor Comments: [COMMENTS CLOSED] Note: Pages are moderated.
The constant contact with customers, employees, and suppliers is critical in maintaining a relationship of trust.
Smile [Sep. 02, 2019]
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Well it looks like South Florida is off the hook for the most part. Better to be prepared than not to be.
JackOLantern [Aug. 31, 2019]
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Some of these ideas are simple and could potentially save a lot of time.
Jake [Aug. 29, 2019]