Technicians vs. Storms: Why We Dread Bad Weather

As a technician, one of the things I have grown to hate over the years is storms and bad weather. A lot of people experience dread from storms, but for techs, it can cause all sorts of headaches. We can plan and preach things like battery backups to help mitigate the risks of getting that alert in the middle of the night, but sadly, you can never completely remove the cause that nature brings.

Storms can wreak havoc on our carefully maintained systems, causing power outages, internet disruptions, and equipment failures. It’s not just the immediate impact that we have to worry about, but also the aftermath. Once the storm has passed, we’re left to pick up the pieces and get everything back up and running as quickly as possible.

When I was younger, I used to be terrified of storms. The loud thunder, the flashes of lightning, and the howling wind would send me running to the basement. However, as I grew older, like most people, I gradually became accustomed to them. The fear subsided, and storms became just another part of life. But then I started working in IT, and my perspective shifted once again. Now, my biggest fear is not the storm itself, but the potential consequences it can have on the systems I manage. The thought of receiving an alert in the middle of the night, notifying me that a server has gone offline due to a power outage or network disruption, is enough to send a chill down my spine. It’s a different kind of dread, one that comes with the responsibility of ensuring the smooth operation of critical infrastructure, no matter what nature throws our way.

As we make our way past the stormy season, there are a few items that can assist you in mitigating the risks for business owners and fellow IT professionals.

Tips For Protecting Your Tech During A Storm

  1. Battery Backups: Investing in quality battery backups for your critical systems can help keep them running during power outages. This can give you valuable time to properly shut down equipment and prevent data loss. Make sure to regularly test and maintain your battery backups to ensure they’ll be ready when you need them most. You should always be investing in your technology.
  2. Test Your Backups: Speaking of backups, it’s crucial to regularly test them to make sure they’re working as expected. There’s nothing worse than discovering your backups are corrupted or incomplete when you’re trying to recover from a storm-related incident. Schedule regular backup testing and verification to give yourself peace of mind.
  3. Alternative Internet Connections: If your business relies heavily on internet connectivity, consider investing in a secondary connection from a different provider. This can help keep you online even if your primary connection goes down due to storm damage. Cellular-based backup solutions can be a good option for many businesses.
  4. Disaster Recovery Planning: Having a well-thought-out disaster recovery plan can make all the difference when storms strike. Your plan should include detailed steps for how to respond to various scenarios, from minor outages to complete system failures. Make sure everyone on your team is familiar with the plan and knows their role in the recovery process.
  5. Be Courteous: When things go wrong, it’s easy to get frustrated and take it out on those working to fix the problem. However, it’s important to remember that the technicians, power company crews, and ISP staff are all doing their best in a difficult situation. A little kindness and understanding can go a long way in these stressful times. Remember the golden rule.

…Be Patient and Understanding

Remember, when the power’s out or the internet’s down, those working to fix things are under immense pressure. They’re often working long hours in challenging conditions, trying to restore service to multiple customers simultaneously. A simple “thank you” to the techs working late, or the crews out in the driving rain, shows that you understand they’re doing their best in tough conditions.

In addition to being patient with those working on the front lines, it’s also important to communicate clearly and proactively with your own customers and staff. Keep them informed about the status of any outages or disruptions, and provide realistic estimates for when things will be back to normal. This transparency can help manage expectations and reduce frustration all around.

The Takeaway

Storms are a frustrating reality that we can’t wish away, but with proper planning and the right tools, we can weather them (pun intended!). Remember:

  • Preparation is key: Battery backups, tested disaster recovery plans, and alternative internet connections can make a huge difference in how well you’re able to ride out a storm.
  • Communication matters: If things do go down, be clear and proactive in your communication with customers and staff. Keep them in the loop and manage expectations realistically.
  • It’s a team effort: From the technicians to the power crews to your own staff, everyone has a role to play in getting through a storm. A little appreciation and understanding can make the experience a bit less stressful for all involved.

By following these tips and maintaining a positive attitude, you’ll be better prepared to face whatever storms come your way. Stay safe out there, and remember, even the worst storms eventually pass.

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