Hurricane Sandy's Effects on IT Operations to Ripple Across Nation

NEWS ANALYSIS: Hurricane Sandy is sure to bring widespread damage to the Northeastern U.S. The monster storm's effects on IT operations will ripple across the U.S. and potentially around the world.

Lower Manhattan has already been evacuated. Cities along the East Coast of the U.S. are being shut down, and employees are being told to stay home. Meanwhile, the slowly, but steadily approaching Hurricane Sandy massive storm has been bringing heavy rain and high winds to the heavily populated Northeast Corridor since Sunday.

The storm is destined to impact a swath of territory more than a thousand miles wide. Within Hurricane Sandy’s impact area, millions of people and businesses will lose power. So will communications networks, wireless services, phone companies and in some cases, government agencies.

Right now a glance at Hurricane Sandy’s track can be deceiving. That track traced on all the maps doesn’t tell the full story. That’s simply the potential path for the center of the storm. The effects will spread far beyond that relatively small area.

If your company is located in the area that the hurricane will affect, you may still have time to do some last-minute things to get ready. If you’re outside the area, you can pat yourself for making wise geographical choices this time. But you may still feel the effects.

First the things you can do now. Make sure your employees are briefed on your company’s emergency plans and on what you expect them to do during and after the storm. Make sure you have current cell phone and landline phone numbers. If you have employees who absolutely must be at the work site, find a way to get them to work, and make sure you have a way to take care of their families. You won’t have effective workers if they’re worried about their loved ones.

Next, make sure you test your emergency backups. If you have alternate networks, then test them. Since we’ve had a lot of warning leading up to this storm, you should have already tested your backup generators, but if you haven’t, do it now while you still have power. While you’re at it, check your fuel levels.

Meanwhile, if you have an off-site backup service, confirm that they have a presence outside of the Northeast U.S., and start backing up your critical data if you haven’t already done this. If you don’t have an off-site backup service, this is the time to either set up a service or figure out what you’re going to do with your critical data. Maybe you can find a bank vault on higher ground.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...