Is Your Business Prepared For
Hurricane Season?

Hurricane preparedness does not end at home….

An often over-looked segment of hurricane preparedness is the workplace. Whether or not you are an employee or an employer, it is essential to take proactive steps in preparing for unpredictable storms and other disasters.

By taking the initiative to start planning early, you can create a plan for your business that will have you fully prepared in the event of a disaster. Forty percent of small businesses that close due to hurricane damage do not reopen. In order to prevent your business from being another statistic, it is critical to prepare now. In preparation for hurricane season, there are some steps your business should take to protect your data and technology from storm damage.

Hurricanes and tropical storms wreak destruction through a combination of high winds and heavy rain.  Hurricanes and tropical storms can impact business in three primary ways:

  1. Direct damage to operating facility due to high winds, flooding, and objects such as tree limbs and debris that become high-speed projectiles capable of smashing through windows, roofs and other structural elements.
  2. Extended power outages, road closures, and other lasting damages can put a business facility out of commission for a week or more. Regional impact can affect customers, suppliers, and business partners—as well as the homes of employees. Risk factors: About a dozen named storms occur along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts each year. Major disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, and most recently Hurricane Harvey certainly underscore the potential damage that can result when such events strike population centers.
  3. Warning times: Businesses usually have significant advance warning of an approaching storm. However, because storm paths are notoriously difficult to predict, these warnings can often be false alarms. Some businesses therefore fail to respond to storm warnings due to the “Cry Wolf” syndrome.


These steps should be completed before employees are dismissed from work due to a threatening hurricane:

Back Up Your Data

  • Having data backup procedures in place can play a significant role in protecting your business from a hurricane.
  • If you're just getting started with a backup plan, your first step is to identify your business's essential data that should be backed up. Hurricanes and tropical storms can put access to your data out of commission for a day, a week, or permanently.
  • All businesses, especially those operating in storm or hurricane-prone areas, should be prepared for anything. Full backups should be performed weekly; if a large amount of data is generated by your business each day, you should back up your data even more frequently. Daily incremental backups are also recommended.
  • Cloud-based storage and business continuity solutions provide an effective way for your company to keep its data safely removed from your physical location. With low overhead, speedy deployment and easy access to data, these solutions offer benefits for both smaller businesses and larger enterprises.  The consistency and reliability offered by an offsite infrastructure approach can be invaluable in the days following a hurricane.

Protect from Water and Wind

If your business is in a flood zone, and a hurricane has a potential to impact your area, you’ll need to protect your IT equipment.  When a major storm is predicted, be sure to elevate your CPUs, printers, servers, and other network devices off of the floor when possible.  For high winds, move computers away from windows.  If there is a possibility of water leakage, cover powered down computer equipment with plastic. DO NOT cover powered-on equipment with any material.

Protect from Power Issues

Power outages and surges also cause issues for IT equipment.  Your server and possibly computers should be plugged into a UPS – uninterruptible power supply – to allow them to keep running for a short time when the primary power source is lost.

According to the severity of the storm/hurricane, as weather progresses, your Acts 360 team may determine it is best practice to begin shutting down your servers as a preventative measure.  This will only begin after we have communicated with your primary contact and gotten approval to begin shutting them down in the proper sequence.

In the event of a Major Hurricane

Website posting that alerts customers and partners about storm preparations—along with frequent post-storm updates that allows visitor to track the progress of any necessary recovery. Major storms can affect entire regions for an extended period of time. Business continuity plans should include:

  • Internal communications for keeping employees updated on resource availability, recovery status, etc.
  • Any necessary third-party contracting for shipping/receiving, mail processing, duplicating, etc. In the event of a regional disaster, in addition to making sure their own operations continue uninterrupted, businesses may want to  be prepared to help their nearby customers and partners get through the crisis. Planning should thus include:
  • Communications in advance with local/regional customers and suppliers who may also be impacted by the storm. This communication should include alternative mobile contact numbers.
  • Pre-determined policies regarding order turnaround times, invoice processing, scheduled service visits, and other activities likely to be affected by the storm.
  • Direct servicing of customers by supply-chain partners, where appropriate and feasible.
  • Insurance considerations: In the wake of a major weather event, businesses should ensure that their policy covers all aspects of business continuity, rather than just damage and outage impacts. Given the fact that businesses typically have significant advance warning of such an event, companies should avoid confusion by contacting insurers in advance to confirm exactly what steps both parties will take in the storm’s immediate aftermath

After the storm

These steps should be taken to resume normal computer operation after returning to work:

  • Initiate Damage Assessment Procedures - Take note of the condition of the computer equipment. If it is visibly damaged or appears to be wet, DO NOT plug the equipment in or turn it on.
  • Verify Electrical Integrity - Computer equipment should not be turned on if electrical power is unstable. Confirm this with your system administrator or supervisor if you are unsure.
  • Verify Network Service Availability - Central services such as network connectivity, network file servers, or email servers may not be available. Verify the availability of services with your network administrator before proceeding.
  • Verify Proper Operation - Return the computer to its original location and reattach all peripherals. Plug in all power cords and turn the computer on. Take note of error messages and write them down.

Bottom line- “Be Prepared”

Your business doesn’t need to go out of business as the result of a major storm.  Acts 360 is committed to preparing our clients to protect their business, both in making sure they have the proper technology to meet their current and future needs, and in advising them about safeguarding their businesses from weather-related, cyber and other disasters.

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