The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a very active 2022 Hurricane Season [Link]. In this article we’re going to to talk about prepping your technology for a storm.

First and foremost, your life and safety are priority number one, as well as those you are responsible for. Ensure that you have evacuation plans, food, water, first aid kit, flashlights, batteries, a full tank of gas in your car, masks/disinfectants, medication, phone, and access to weather updates. For more information, check out NOAA’s hurricane prep site

Well before a hurricane makes landfall in your area, assess your house or office:

  • How prone is the area you’re in to flooding?
  • Are you surrounded by trees?
  • If you need to evacuate the home or office, do you know where to meet?
  • If you need to evacuate the city/town/state, do you know what routes and alternate routes you will take to get to your meeting spot?

Some lists you will need handy and easily accessible:

  • Inventory of all your technology(make/model/serial number) and cost.
  • Inventory of all the applications installed on devices.
  • Contact lists to include: Emergency services, insurance agents, tech support, and vendors. For families, also include contact info of family members and close friends. For businesses this includes employees.

Some plans to have at the ready and easily accessible for everyone:

  • Incident response for hurricanes: What needs to be done when the storm hits, what roles do you/your family members/your employees play when working through the incident.
  • Disaster recovery: After the storm, you should have plans on how to recover any lost data and replace any damaged/lost technology.

Things to do before a storm arrives:

  • If you’re in an area that is prone to flooding, move your computers to higher ground.
  • Make sure your devices are fully charged.
  • Make sure you have backed up all of your files and that they are accessible locally, accessible offsite somewhere, and accessible via cloud storage that is secure. This is so that if you lose data due to a power outage or damaged equipment, not only is the data safe somewhere else, but you have multiple ways to access it to speed up the recovery process.
  • Have backup devices that are ready to go if your primary devices are damaged.
  • Have a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) with surge protector for things like your desktops and servers. That way if the power goes out, you’ll have a few minutes to save any open documents and then gracefully power down your machine.
  • Have alternate ways to communicate.
  • If you work from home, find alternate places to “set up shop” in case you lose Internet access or the power goes out at the house. For businesses, have alternate sites lined up for employees to go to in the event going to the main office is not a viable option.
  • Take a lot of pictures of your technology, your rooms/office space, and house/office building for insurance purposes.

Things to do when the storm hits:

  • For businesses with employees in office, make sure they prepare to leave early and that everything is locked up before the last person is out of the office. Communicate to employees that they should work from home.
  • Monitor your file backups.

After the storm:

  • Assess damages, if any, and contact your insurance agent.
  • Put your disaster recovery plan in motion, whether it’s restoring files to computers, replacing damaged technology, or ramping up an alternate site to use to do your work.
  • Make sure you’re able to communicate with those that you need to contact.

These lists aren’t exhaustive, but are a good place to start. Most importantly, your stuff is replaceable. You aren’t. Your safety, and those close to you, are priority number one, so make sure you have a plan.

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