I celebrated the July 4th holiday by taking 4 days off from work. It was a hot few days here in southern Maine, and as usual, the hot weather broke with a round of strong storms rolling through on Saturday. Our power flickered out momentarily and we breathed a sigh of relief, having experienced lengthy power outages in the past. Our sighs of relief were short-lived however when we realized we had no Internet service. I wasn’t overly concerned on Saturday, but when we still had no Internet 24 hours later I began to worry about it extending into my work week. In fact, I was told it could be four days before it was restored. Four days without internet for a digital-based business? Wouldn’t that spell disaster? Not if you prepare your digital business for outages.
I won’t lie, if our internet service had really been out for four days, it would have been stretching my preparedness plan, but I still would have been able to provide my clients with service. I’ve done so in the past when ice storms and wind storms have left us without power for extended periods of time.
So just how do you prepare for power or internet outages when you are an online based business?
Plan ahead. Think about just what you may need to continue providing services to your clients while the outage is in effect. Things like:
Hot Spot / MiFi:
Most newer smartphones include a wireless hotspot that allows you to use your mobile data package to connect other devices to the internet. If your phone doesn’t have a hotspot, you can also purchase MiFi devices like Verizon’s Jetpack that allows you to connect devices to the internet via your mobile data package.
A good external battery pack is crucial in a power outage. It allows you to recharge your devices. I’d recommend the largest size you can afford since using your phone as a hotspot can drain the battery quickly. You can even get sizes that will allow for recharging of your laptop.
Cloud/ removable storage:
In the case of a power or internet outage, you’ll be using your laptop, even if you normally use a desktop most of the time as I do. Using cloud storage for your files means that you can access any file you may need from the laptop too. Of course, you could also use a removable drive to store files as well, I just prefer the cloud.
A remote office location:
Whether it’s your local library or nearby shared office space, having somewhere you can go and do business for the day is a key element to prepare your digital business for outages. Although I’ve yet to use it, I know that in a short 30-minute drive I can utilize a co-working space in the event of a truly lengthy power or internet outage. Because they aren’t in the same town I’m in, chances are they wouldn’t be dealing with the same outage either.
It’s true, power and internet outages can put online businesses into panic mode, but with a bit of planning, you can make sure you’re prepared to do business even with the lights out and your internet provider down for the count.