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Capstone Works, Inc. has been serving the Cedar Park area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Struck By Winter Storms? Here’s an IT Checklist to Follow

Struck By Winter Storms? Here’s an IT Checklist to Follow

We talk a lot about how to be proactive and prevent IT issues and data loss when facing bad weather, power outages, and other disasters, but that usually doesn’t help anybody when they are in the middle of a problem. Let’s switch the perspective, since a lot of our state is dealing with cold, wind, and ice right now while we’re writing this, let’s talk about some things your business will need to take care of when things get back to normal.

Did You Lose Power? Take Your Time and Boot Things Up Gracefully

When the power goes out, it will force computers, servers, and network equipment to shut down abruptly. Unless you’ve equipped your critical hardware with battery-backup UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) devices, which will usually provide enough backup power to shut down an individual device gracefully, things are going to need a bit to come back up. Even then, servers and network infrastructure tend to take longer to boot up than your typical PC, and you’ll want to take your time to make sure that all systems are green before your staff starts working.

A power outage from a winter storm will tend to happen outside of your building, so usually you won’t need to check your fuses or circuit breakers, but it can still be a good idea. It’s also worth mentioning that if you smell gas or smoke or anything that just doesn’t seem right when you come back to your office, it’s worth notifying your utility company BEFORE trying to turn ANYTHING on. If your office has gone without power for some time, it’s also possible for the cold temperatures to freeze pipes, so if there are any signs of water, you’ll want to get the professionals to take a look before you attempt to power anything back on.

Once you or your team have decided it’s safe to proceed with powering up your network, you’ll typically want to go in this order:

First, Make Sure Mission Critical Devices are Powered Off and Unplugged

Granted, if you lost power, the devices are probably powered down, but depending on what you have going on, and what your battery backup devices can handle, there might be a few things still drawing power. Making sure anything that is on gets shut down gracefully is important, as abrupt shutdowns (including those from the initial power outage) can cause damage to a component and lead to data loss.

Check Your Fuses and then Turn on the Breakers

Again, your breakers might be on if the power outage was more widespread, but if you did reset your breakers, give it about 30-45 seconds before turning everything back on.

Plug-in Power Cords

Now it’s time to plug in your power cords, surge protectors, and power strips. Give any device 10-20 seconds before you even attempt to press any power buttons after being plugged in. 

Power On Your Network Switches

Give them time to boot up. It’s possible that they can struggle after a long power outage, so you may need a technician to upload a previously saved configuration or reconfigure the switch before everything can connect. Either way, once you are back up and running, you’ll want to have a technician give your entire network a once-over to make sure everything is in good working order.

Boot Up Your Routers

Do these one at a time. You’ll know when a router is booted up when the lights generally stop blinking and fall into more of a random pattern, but sometimes routers will have a specific status light to indicate when it is fully operational. 

Power On the Modem

Once all of your routers are on, power up your modem (or modems) and by now, your network should start connecting to the Internet. If you don’t have internet access, it’s worth checking cables and status lights to try to diagnose the issue, but it’s also worth checking your ISP to see if they are experiencing an outage due to the weather too.

Boot Up Your Servers

Finally, we’re getting to the major infrastructure. Start with your servers first, one by one. Your IT provider will likely have a preference for which one to boot up first, as typically one will take charge of the network. If you aren’t sure, you should be okay booting them up in any order, although it really depends on how your network was configured in the first place. 

Give your servers plenty of time to boot up. It might only take a couple of minutes, but it could take as much as 10-15 minutes, or even more if there is a problem. 

Finally, Boot Up Your Desktops and Laptops

At last, you should be able to safely power on your workstations and access everything without an issue. Keep in mind that an abrupt shutdown isn’t good for most of the devices on your network—problems could have occurred that might require diagnosing. If that’s the case, central Texas businesses can call (512) 343-8891 to get help. 

There might be certain services or applications on your servers that didn’t launch properly, or crashed and need to be repaired or initiated. It’s also possible that the power outage, brownout, or surge damaged a piece of hardware. 

If You Want to Be Ready to Recover from Any Disaster, Capstone Works is Here to Help

We’re central Texas’ #1 Managed IT Provider, and we know how much of a pain it is when your technology isn’t working properly. When your business relies on us, it’s the closest thing to having your own in-house IT department, with technicians who are invested in YOUR success. If you feel like your current provider is dropping the ball, give us a call at (512) 343-8891 and we can show you how it’s supposed to be done.

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