Be prepared for power outages

With threats of power outages this Winter in Ireland it is timely to remind all businesses to have a plan B. Back in the 1990s as an IT technician I used to ferry a set of backup tapes to the local bank and swap a set into the vault for a new set – just in case the business I worked in burned down. Fast forward to 2022 and I am sure there are many businesses now asking their IT depts to shake the dust off their business continuity plans to see what they say.

We are being told that power outage are unlikely as the Gov is doing everything possible to prevent that from happening but its sensible to make provisions – just in case. Here are our top tips in the event of a major prolonged power outage.

  • Plan – Have a written down business continuity plan that outlines key contacts, procedures and even templates to keep your business going. Make sure people are familiar and know what to if the power goes off.
  • Paper – Print off the really essential items for your business and put them in a folder. Important phone numbers, contacts, bank account details or even passwords as you may have to sign into alternative devices somewhere.
  • Online – If you dont have one get some kind of online presences for selling across Website, Social, Ebay etc so that you have an alternative to sell if your bricks and mortar business losses power. You may have lots of stock but no way to open your shop for customers without power so make sure you have an alternative means from them to buy form you.
  • Comms – Phone networks are usually the last point of failure as they are powered separately so make sure you have at least one phone contact point that customers know about. Use every channel that is available to tell people what is happening.
  • Email – Its unlikely but possible that you may loose access to your emails if your data centre goes down. Have an alternative Gmail address setup as a backup – you may need to use it.
  • Website – Its equally unlikely but possible your website may go down if a data centre or broadband provider goes down. So make sure your Social Media channels are setup and you know the passwords as it may be the only way for customers to contact you.
  • Data – Think of all of the files that you have on your computer to do business. Think about moving them to cloud storage (OneDrive, DropBox) – that way you can access from another computer.

Dont panic – but be prepared via some of the steps above. The time to wonder about all of these steps is not when the lights go out.