Learning from Storm Sandy
Even though our servers are in secure, reliable, relatively hurricane resistant data centers and we have daily backup of all systems, we did not find out our weak areas until storm Sandy came into our neck of the woods.
My heart goes out to those families who have lost loved ones; and to the many who went through much hardship, especially compared to the little we ended up going through.
Just days prior to storm Sandy, our local power company contacted us to let us know that their may be multiple power surges and small outages; and, if there was a major outage, it could last three days.
Closer to the storm actually hitting our area, the power company shared that if there was a major outage, the power could be out for a week or longer.
Based on lessons we learned from a lightning storm earlier this year, we moved to an Internet-based telephone system.
The caveat of this move was that no electricity equals lack of Internet equals no business phone system.
Our plan A (which we did communicate with our customers the day before the storm landed) for if and when power went out was to use our netbook, laptop, and cell phones sparingly. We ball parked that if we checked voice mail and support tickets four times a day (given that each ticket may require time for a response, may require work on the server(s), etc.), accounting and sales once a day, we could last out three days without power. But a week or longer? We did not have a plan B.
My father-in-law shared there are devices that convert car electricity to that which can be used by a laptop or other small portable devices. We found this on Amazon.com, and my father-in-law loaned us a similar one. So that would cover the power to a degree.
Personally, we were able to get a hold of a Coleman Two-Burner Propane Stove for which we believed we could use just outside in a covered area; but propane canisters were out at most locations. That would mean rationed use to make the most of our one canister.
Thank Jesus that while we did have a number of power surges that Monday night with some less than two minute power outages, we did not lose power.
One of our family members are still without power as I write this article; they do have a power generator they’ve been using sparingly.
We got off easy compared to many others.
While they are calling storm Sandy the worst storm of our times (on the East Coast at least), and there may not be anything near that for some time, we are now thinking and re-thinking what we need to have on hand if there are any future cases where our office as well as home would be without power or Internet for extended periods of time.
If you were in the path of storm Sandy, how was your business impacted? Where you without power for any period of time? How did you make due in terms of managing your business (especially if it is Internet-facing / based)? Please share below.