Are You Ready for the Polar Vortex?

This week, communities across the country are enduring record-breaking low temperatures caused a frigid Arctic whirlwind known as a polar vortex. The Midwest and Great Lakes are experiencing wind chills from 40 to 65 degrees below zero, and a predicted 100 million people are braving temperatures close to zero. Forecasters say this meteorological phenomenon is as dangerous as it sounds, with the potential to cause frostbite in under five minutes. Schools and government offices have closed, and several states have declared a state of emergency. What does this mean for your practice?

As with other extreme-weather situations, you must put safety first. Transportation of all kinds has been heavily impact, so your employees will be hard-pressed to travel to work. What's more, experts have advised the public to minimize time outside, as these conditions can cause injury within minutes.

This severe weather also presents the threat of power outages. Polar temperatures can weaken electrical equipment, especially when the components are old and a broken branch, wind, and/or ice buildup strain the systems. The high demand for energy in these circumstances doesn't help matters either. People are using heat pumps, heat systems, and electrical space heaters nonstop, which increases the chance of shortages and can result in automatic shutdowns or rolling blackouts.

If you're prepared, a power outage doesn't have to mean losses in productivity and profits. Sharing your safety plan with employees and using alternative power sources will help you bounce back from a power outage or loss in connectivity. Here’s what to do if you if they happen unexpectedly:

  1. Ensure your staff members and their families are okay. Call 911 if needed and have your emergency kit on hand.
  2. Report the outage to your utility company.
  3. Look at the breakers in your electrical panel to make sure you haven't blown a circuit.
  4. Turn on your generator as needed.
  5. Tether computers to smartphones or use a Wi-Fi hotspot device.
  6. Follow your plan for handling power outages and review the Department of Homeland Security's recommendations on how to stay safe during a blackout. Review these tips for more information on what to do before, during, and after an electrical outage.

If you're able to continue working after taking the appropriate actions above, communicate how you'd like your employees to proceed. Make sure they have proper workstations and give them access to work remotely.

If you find yourself facing the polar vortex and its aftermath, focus on keeping your team safe and think about how to continue business operations second. The impact extreme weather and natural disasters can have on on-premise IT systems is huge, but the right cloud solution can protect the future of your firm by securing your mission critical apps and data while giving you anytime, anywhere access, so you can continue to serve your clients needs regardless of what mother nature throws at you.

To learn more about how your firm can benefit from moving to Abacus Private Cloud, schedule a demo here.