Road Covered in Snow

When Weather Strikes, Are You Prepared?

It’s just a few days after Christmas and we were hit by a blizzard to finish out 2018. What can we learn from this blizzard? How to prepare for the next one.

In New Mexico, we don’t have a lot of dangers when it comes to natural disasters. Some do come to mind however that we all need to be ready for.

Planning Ahead

What can happen in your area? For us in New Mexico the biggest things are:

  • Power Outages
  • High Winds
  • Snow
  • Flooding

Now that we have an idea of the things that can happen we can think about preparation.

The number one thing we suffer here in New Mexico is Power Outages, these are often caused by the weather, car accidents, falling trees, animals, or vandalism. This is obviously a huge hindrance to your productivity since you can’t actually do any work without your systems on. Have you considered how much this downtime can cost you? It can add up fast.

PNM has this infographic to explain Power Outages and the Phone Number to report them.

To get started the simple solution is to purchase an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). These can keep your critical systems online and safe from unexpected shutdowns and power surges. Sizing one out will determine how long it will supply power to your systems. For your network equipment, you might be able to get away with a smaller unit while desktops and servers require more power.

Other considerations you might want to think about is internet continuity. If your equipment is now safe from power failures you may still not have internet, just because you have power doesn’t mean you do, or maybe you have DSL and the power outage is due to a downed pole. In this case, this is where LTE Failover comes in.

LTE? Like what I get on my phone? Yes, LTE can be a lifesaver to your business in bad weather. Especially if you heavily rely on an internet connection for your business, where you have cloud Line of Business apps or you have VoIP phones, You need an active internet connection.

You may have seen these Wireless Hotspots you can buy at your local Verizon store. You can also purchase these off of Amazon and activate them on your existing cellular plan (Other Carriers have similar devices). These devices can offer a WiFi Hotspot that you can use to continue the business. Some devices also allow you to plug them into your Router or Firewall (UTM) via USB to give your whole network Internet Access. LTE failover is something we think all businesses should consider.

The Case for Remote Work

In times where work matters you may want to consider allowing remote work. We’d suggest talking with a company like us to help tackle security concerns. However, on days where you and your employees are snowed in who is answering the phones? Are the phones even working? Are you going to put your employees at risk for them to come into the office?

Solutions to consider:

  • Microsoft Office 365: Allow your employees to take their work anywhere, need that spreadsheet done? No problem, you can save it in OneDrive and have multiple employees work on the same document at once from anywhere. Plus you can use Microsoft Teams to chat and collaborate, even hold meetings with the Video Meetings feature.
  • VoIP: You might have seen this coming, we love VoIP. On days where you can’t get to the office, you can still be productive by making and receiving calls like you’re there. Same with your employees, make and receive calls on your cellphone or from a softphone app on your computer. You can even do Fax. You can learn more about the benefits of Unified Communications in our previous Blog Post.
  • Virtual Private Network (VPN): Do you have an onsite server maybe running QuickBooks that your AR and HR need access to? No problem if you have a Firewall that supports this. You can give your employees their own credentials to remote into the company securely to do their work. You can even do other types of access like App-V and Remote Desktop.

Having these solutions in place can give your business more flexibility when weather happens, or if you happen to need to do some work on a trip to Hawaii.

We’ve hoped this has been helpful in planning your business continuity. If you need help in purchasing any of the items mentioned or would like to talk about what solutions are right for your business you can give us a call anytime at (505) 966-5011

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