Natural Disaster Preparations
When the threat of a hurricane or other natural or manmade disaster exists, you need to protect your computer systems as well as your people. So here are answers to some frequently asked questions. Much of this applies to your home computers as well as your business systems.
Should I shut my workstations off during the weekend (or at night)?
In general, we recommend leaving workstations powered on at night and on weekends because this is when critical updating occurs (for Fieldbrook clients). However, in the event of any weather where power spikes (lightning strikes) or power failures are a risk, then feel free to shut down the computers. Similar applies to network printers, firewalls and other devices, though keep in mind that you will disrupt remote access, incoming email and other services if firewalls, routers and/or switches are disconnected.
I have a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply, or “backup battery”). Will this protect me?
A UPS will protect your computer or other systems from power surges that occur in the general vicinity, though nothing will protect against a direct lightning strike. But keep in mind that most computers are connected by more than just electrical power. Network cables, modems and printer USB cables all attach your computer to the “grid,” meaning that your computer is still at risk. The only truly safe option is to disconnect ALL cables. But if you do, make sure to note where each cable is connected so that you won’t have problems reconnecting them later. (Some computers have multiple video or network cards, for example.) Additionally, a UPS will keep your server running if there is a power outage (not uncommon during major storms), but the battery usually only lasts for 15 minutes, after which the server will shut down completely.
Should I shut down my server?
The same warnings apply to servers as they do to workstations. Obviously, no one will be able to access work data while it is shut down, so keep this in mind for productivity reasons.
Will I lose email if my server is shut down?
If your server is running mail software like Exchange Server, and if it is shut down, then it will not be able to receive email. If you are using a service such as Postini which provides mail queuing (“spooling”), then you will not lose any email. It will all be delivered shortly after your server is turned back on. Otherwise, you risk losing incoming email, as most mail systems will give up trying to send to you after 2-3 days, and the sender will receive a non-deliverable notice (NDR).
Should I have a backup of my data?
Yes, yes and yes (just in case there is any doubt about the first "yes"). Have a full backup of all data. Take a copy offsite if possible and if you are not using an online backup service. In the event that the hurricane or even a simple rainstorm causes damage to your office space, you want to be able to recover to a new location as quickly as possible.
We LOVE Fieldbrook Solutions. Will you be available to provide support if we have problems?
Of course. Clients or those in need should contact us with questions relating to this or other issues. Don't wait until the last minute. You can reach us at
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