How Small Businesses Can Protect their Technology Investments During the Winter

Frigid temperatures, snow, ice, and high winds are the harsh realities of winter. They can also bring a host problems for a small business. Of course, concerns over customer or employee slips and falls is a biggee, but have you thought of how a potential winter storm power outage could impact your technology infrastructure — and your day-to-day operations?
Here’s how small businesses can protect their technology investments during the winter.

1) First and foremost, purchase a generator.
A generator can keep essential technology “plugged in” even during a power outage.  Keep in mind, generators should only be operated outside, and well away from windows, doors or vents to prevent carbon monoxide from seeping indoors.

2) Back up electronic data daily.
It’s critical to back up all customer, client, and company data daily. For even more protection, back up your back up plan. For example, back up essential off-site or via cloud services. Review the functionality of your back up systems before a big storm hits.

3) Protect equipment from power surges.
Your electronic equipment should be plugged into an adequate power surge protector. Depending on your business, individual surge protectors may suffice, but in some cases a large building surge protector is advised.  That said, if you’re in the office when a power surge occurs, turn off all computers and electrical equipment as protection against a sudden voltage increase when power is restored.
4) Protect portable electronics from cold temperatures. Taking work home from the office? Don’t leave your laptop in your car overnight. Very cold temperatures can freeze parts of your laptop, such as the monitor potentially leading to a crack. Cold temperatures can damage your laptop’s battery. What’s more, if your laptop does freeze, condensation may form when it warms back up — and moisture and laptops don’t mix. When traveling back and forth to work with your laptop in tow, place it in an insulated laptop bag to not only keep it from freezing, but also to provide cushion should you slip and fall on snow or ice.
5) Implement remote network access. In the event it is unsafe for employees to get to the office during a winter storm, make sure they are able to connect to your small business server or office remotely. A secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) enables workers to log in to your organization’s network while at home. Be sure to have employees test their logons and ability to connect remotely prior to a big winter storm.
While we cannot control the weather, small business owners can minimize its risk to their operations by following the above tips to protect their technology investments during the winter.