Get Your IT Winter Ready
As we approach the end of Fall, it’s time to begin looking forward to snow season. If we learned anything from the five consecutive snow storms in January and February earlier this year, it’s that every company needs to have its IT performing at its best to outlast Mother Nature. Unfortunately, this winter it may be more important than ever as the 2016 season is looking to be worse than 2015.
One of the biggest factors to consider when winterizing your IT is figuring out how to handle a “snow day” in the first place. In the past many businesses would simply close for the day and wait out the storm, but in today’s age of 24/7 connectedness many companies opt to have employees work from home. Whether your employees are using company-issued equipment or working from their personal devices, it’s important to ensure that data and resources are being accessed securely. A strong Bring Your Own Device policy, proper security measures, and perhaps even a cloud storage solution will allow your employees to work efficiently wherever they are.
Another factor to consider is your physical IT equipment and infrastructure. As with other types of weather events, snowstorms and frigid temperatures have the potential to wreak havoc on your hardware. Power outages can bring down servers and workstations for extended periods of time and result in data loss, while severe damage to the actual building (collapsed roofs from too much snow or flooding from a burst pipe) can cause your equipment to be physically damaged. Having a strong Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plan in place will provide you with peace of mind and ensure that your business will come through any setbacks with minimal disruptions.
As you can see, keeping your IT in fighting shape means you may also need to double check that the building is in fighting shape. Before severe weather strikes take a look at trees near your building – if the branches are close to the building or power lines consider having them trimmed so that heavy snow doesn’t bring them crashing down in an unfortunate locale. Additionally, double check that your heating systems are working properly – it may seem a bit early to put the heat on full blast, but it’s better to know that everything is running properly now than be faced with it when temperatures begin to dip and your pipes are in danger of bursting.
According to a report by AVTECH, the ideal temperature for IT equipment to be run and stored at is 68 to 75 degrees. They state, “This temperature range provides a safe buffer for equipment to operate in the event of air conditioning or HVAC equipment failure.” While in the winter you probably don’t need to worry about temperatures climbing too high, it’s certainly plausible that temperatures could quickly drop below 68 degrees in the event of a power outage, or even a mismanaged heating system. While this isn’t a huge issue in and of itself, if the computers are running for an extended period of time (and thus warm) and the temperature cools rapidly, it’s possible that condensation – and even small amounts of ice, depending on how rapidly it has cooled! – could form in your equipment.
For more information on how to get your IT systems and infrastructure ready for winter, call us at (508) 543-6979.