Following the ice storm of early February that knocked out power to something like 94 percent of my township in Pennsylvania, my family finally broke down and bought a portable generator. But the day or so leading up to the outage could have provided me with clues about the potential for disruptions and left me better prepared. 

That’s something that managed services providers who offer data backup and disaster recovery services are already very familiar with. What can you do to prepare? What can you do to be ready? And just as important how can you recover quickly?

From my own power outage experiences with both Hurricane Sandy in 2012 (power out for nearly a week at my house) and the recent ice storm (power out for about 36 hours) I’ve come up with my own strategies.

For instance, the day before the ice storm was due, I noticed there was already ice building up on the power lines. And tree limbs looked dangerously close to them, weighted down with lots of ice.

But did I listen to my gut feeling and get ready? Of course not. Here’s what I should have done ahead of the storm:

  • Listened to my gut feeling about the potential for an outage
  • Checked my supply of batteries.
  • Checked my emergency water supplies.
  • Charged all the computers, tablets, phones and other devices in the house.
  • Made sure all the flashlights were in a centrally located spot that everyone knew about and could find, even in the dark.
  • Warn my colleagues about the potential for disruption (see note below regarding text message to CJ Arlotta).

Now we have the portable generator and a plan for what gets powered, including the fan that blows heat through the house, the router for our internet connection, and the heaters and lights for Reggie Otis, the lizard.

The plan is to preserve what is most important, and if you are an MSP offering BDR that means preserving your customers’ businesses. Today often the best way to do that is by preserving their data. And preserving that data and recovering it fast makes you a hero in a disaster’s aftermath.

On a final note: When I texted blogger CJ Arlotta who typically covers BDR and told him that I was without power due to the ice storm he texted the following message to me: “Did you back up your data?” Good question. It's on my list now.