Preparing Your Dental Practice for a Big Storm

How To Protect Your Valuable Assets Before, During and After Natural Disaster

Dental It support

The workplace is one of the most commonly overlooked segments of hurricane preparedness and HTI is sharing its emergency best practices to make sure you have all of the information you need to recover from a natural disaster, as well as to prevent any impact from a future disaster.

While hurricanes and tropical storms wreak havoc in many ways, there are three primary ways that they can impact a business.

Storms can cause direct damage to operating facilities due to high winds, flooding and debris that become high-speed projectiles capable of smashing through windows, roofs and other structural elements.
Through extended power outages, road closures and other lasting damages, storms can put a business out of commission for a week or more. If the natural disaster affects the entire region, this also means the business will have a harder time communicating with customers, receiving important equipment from suppliers and working together with their strategic business partners who are also affected by the disaster.
Businesses usually have advance warning of an approaching storm, however, because storm paths are notoriously difficult to predict, these warnings can often be false alarms. Some businesses therefore fail to respond to storm warnings because they don’t know whether the warnings are valid or unnecessarily. With roughly a dozen named storms occurring along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts each year, major disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, Sandy, Harvey and most recently Hurricane Ida, certainly underscore the potential damage that can result when such events strike population centers. However, as there is nothing we can do to prevent nature from running its course, there are several steps you as a business owner can take to protect the company, the staff and all assets.

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Before you shut down your practice before an impending storm, here are some key actions to take in order to ensure that you will get back up and running as soon as possible.

Step 1 – Back Up Your Data:

Businesses who utilize an established data backup procedure will always recover much more quickly than those who are reactionary. If a business is just getting started with a backup plan, the first step is to identify the business' essential data that needs to be backed up. Hurricanes and tropical storms can put access to your data out of commission for a day, a week, or permanently, so this must be done in advance. HTI recommends that full backups are performed on a daily basis at a minimum. Data should be stored in the cloud to keep it safely removed from the physical location. With low overhead, speedy deployment and easy access to data, cloud-storage solutions offer plenty of options for both smaller and larger dental practices. The consistency and reliability offered by an offsite infrastructure approach can be invaluable in the days following a hurricane.

Step 2 – Protect from Water and Wind:

If a business is located in a flood zone, and a hurricane has a potential to impact the area, we recommend protecting all IT equipment. When a major storm is predicted, be sure to elevate computers, printers, servers, and other network devices off of the floor. For high winds, move computers away from the windows.

Step 3 – Protect from Power Issues:

Power outages and surges also cause issues for IT equipment. Servers and computers should be plugged into an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) – to allow them to keep running for a short time when the primary power source is lost. This helps to maintain data integrity and provides the greatest possible access during recovery.

Step 4 – After the Storm:

Initiate damage assessment by taking note of the condition of equipment. If it is visibly damaged or appears to be wet, DO NOT plug the equipment in or turn it on. Then, verify electrical integrity because computer equipment should not be turned on if electrical power is unstable. Finally, verify proper operation by returning the computer to its original location and reattach all peripherals. Plug in all power cords and turn the computer on. Take note of error messages, write them down and then call our Help Desk.

At HTI, We’re Here to Help

There is absolutely no reason that dental practice should go out of business as the result of a major storm. HTI is committed to helping clients protect their business, both in making sure they have the proper technology to meet their current and future needs, and in advising them about safeguarding their dental practice from weather-related, cyber and other disasters.

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