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Business continuity in the face of hurricane season

1 million people without power just in New England alone. Thankfully, our core network and data centers maintained excellent uptime thanks to batteries, backup units, and generators, but unfortunately some of our clients didn’t fare so well. More than a few clients suffered power loss for over 3 days, putting their business at a standstill. It’s critical that at this time of the year, businesses think about communications and data continuity. We all work in a global economy – the Internet has given us the ability to shop online 24×7, and eliminated geographic borders. When it comes to working, it’s more common than not nowadays to have telecommuters and employees working from remote locations. All of these reasons are why it’s critical to make sure your communications services are protected against weather failures. UPS units are the best place to start. Any network servers and devices such as routers, switches, and phone hardware should be plugged into a UPS, not only for power surge protection, but to help stay up and running if there’s a power failure. While most UPS units won’t last for an outage that’s measured in days not hours, they will allow you to gracefully power down servers and appliances to make sure there are no failures/issues when power is restored. Having your own backup generator will go much further, but costs can be prohibitive for a smaller business. If your business maintains servers in-house, it may be more of a long term benefit to consider housing them in a colocation facility. Not only will your uptime be guaranteed, your performance will most likely increase by providing more bandwidth to your servers at the colocation data center while actually decreasing your monthly costs when it comes to power and cooling you used to provide to the servers in your office. Businesses who rely on customers getting data from their servers, or having remote employees constantly accessing in-house data, are especially good candidates to consider colocation. Cloud services are another great way to promote business continuity in the case of inclement weather and power loss. Hosted PBX services, for example, can still answer inbound calls, collect voicemails, or even direct calls to individual extensions to user cellphones. Your region may be nearly shut down due to a hurricane, but your best clients may be hundreds (if not thousands) of miles away and will need access to you and your services. Hosted email will allow you to stay in touch even if your office is left without power as well. Power surges and power fluctuations due to storms can wreak havoc when it comes to servers and computers; there’s nothing worse than powering up your desktop after a storm to discover the hard drive was damaged due to a power issue. Businesses can use automatic online backup services to keep mission-critical data backed up securely offsite, ready to be restored in case a computer or a hard drive needs to be replaced. We hope some of these ideas will help you be prepared this hurricane season. And hey – once you’re prepared for that, you should be all set for blizzard season just a few months later here in the Northeast! If we can help you with any services or preparedness, just let us know. Feel free to call 508-646-0030, email our team at sales@meganet.net, or just fill out a contact form. We’ll be happy to hear about your current service setup, and make some recommendations on how we can keep you up and running through bad weather. ]]>

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