Welcome to the final blog in our technology planning series. You now know how to develop a well-thought-out plan and how to conduct a technology assessment. Now let’s look at technology disaster preparedness.


Preparing for Disaster

We don’t mean the power-surge-ate-my-blog-post kind of disaster, though frequent backups can help there. We’re thinking more along the lines of surviving Mother Nature’s wrath: tornado, hurricane, flood, fire. How do you keep your technology and your organization running and meeting constituents’’ needs when your primary location is destroyed or inaccessible?

Big companies and universities have detailed Disaster Recovery Plans (DRP) outlining the off-site locations of backup servers, roles and responsibilities, emergency contacts, etc. You should too, even if on a smaller scale. By having a plan in place, you can deepen ensure continuity and respond faster.

Here Are Our Top Ten Disaster Preparation Strategies

  1. We can’t say it enough: keep your data backed up! There are two options: remote and local. With remote, your computer automatically sends your data to a remote center at specified internals. With local, your computer copies your data to a second hard drive or other media source, either manually or at specified intervals. Consider doing both for redundancy. Then you won’t miss a beat when your office is shut down.
  2. Your Technology Assessment will be helpful in a disaster, as you’ll already have a list of equipment, software, warranties, passwords readily available for anyone who needs to restore your technology.
  3. Make sure your off-site backup servers are listed on your Technology Assessment list, along with locations and passwords.
  4. Find out if your web hosting provider regularly backs up your website, and how recovery is handled if needed.
  5. Create a Master Key – a simple USB flash drive where you keep all of the information you’ll need to restore your technology infrastructure after a disaster or respond to any other unforeseen incidents.
  6. Think about how your organization communicates and establish priorities for re-establishing communications. In a disaster scenario, it’s essential that fast communication not require employees’ physical presence in the office.
  7.  If you use an in-house email server, it should be a part of your backup plan. If mail is stored locally on users’ computers, and not on the mail server, the mail folder on each computer should be backed up.
  8. Disaster preparedness apps can help you back up a mobile phone or tablet to stay organized and updated during times of crisis.
  9. Set up a phone tree that includes home and cell phone numbers for all staff.
  10. Keep a hard copy of critical documentation sheltered from natural disasters: such as a waterproof safe or a safe deposit box. Keep copies in two different places unlikely to be hit by a single disaster.

In addition, TechSoup offers a free detailed e-book, The Resilient Organization: A Guide for Disaster Planning and Recovery that covers these strategies in detail and much more on disaster planning, from preparation through recovery. It’s well worth downloading.

Finally, as a nonprofit dedicated to making affordable, reliable Internet access available to other nonprofits, here are a couple of ways that our service can help provide continuity for your business in the event of a disaster.

1. Many organizations use Mobile Beacon’s 4G service as a low-cost fail-safe for their network. If their primary Internet connection fails, they can ensure service continuity for short term disruptions of service.
2. In response to the natural disasters that areas of the U.S. have suffered recently, we have partnered with TechSoup.org to donate up to 26 devices to nonprofits in affected states who are now without Internet access. We have a companion donation program with DigitalWish.org for schools.

This post was authored by Mobile Beacon, a TechSoup donor partner. You can read more posts like this on their new blog, 4 Your Mission.