Expect technology to fail, it’s one of its favourite things!
Better that and plan for it than be unprepared. Let’s consider an example of the Internet connectivity of a work from home micro business;
Work in a line, from the bottom to the top, or one end to the other.
First, ignore the Internet connection!
Internet connections have a service “guarantee” (more on that later) which sets out what you can expect. Beyond that you have little control – if it breaks it’ll be back when it’s back.
(The golden rule here: if it breaks, log the fault and keep pestering till it’s fixed)
Phone line next. It may be with a separate provider and is easy to test if, in the event of a failure, the fault is with line or connection – hint: a corded phone and mobile are handy here,
If you establish the failure is a line fault, report it and wait.
Next in line is our Internet router. As anything outside of the router is almost completely out of our control this is the first item we can properly look to secure.
We can mitigate power failures and protect from surges (we get a lot of “dirty” power here in Cornwall, surges cause damage). Even a modest (cheap) UPS will keep a router running for a good while.
If we have a router failure, we have options; reset to factory, get it fixed or swap it out. Assuming you have a backup of your settings (and if you don’t you really should!) reset/re-apply/replace as needed.
We mentioned severity before. If your internet router properly breaks it’s going to take a MINIMUM of one day to get a replacement (unless you live very near to a store that sells them) so your thoughts must include if can you cope with a day offline?
Portable device owners could work from another location. If you have a mobile broadband device/phone, you can use that instead. But, depending on your setup, your existing Office may be offline until a replacement is in hand, so you might consider keeping a spare.
This is, unfortunately, the high cost of preventing failures. If you max out your preventative measures you will need to at least purchase; a mobile broadband device (or use a mobile phone), UPS and a spare router.
Beyond your router lies your tools, the pen and paper of your business, either computers/laptops and printers/scanners. If you work in the cloud you need internet, if you work with local software you can still do some things without it.
Everything is replaceable in the event of a failure, but you still need to be aware just how you would do that if/when it does so planning is crucial.
A daunting process just for an individual working at home, imagine the permutations for larger firms and the myriad things they might want to consider?!
Next we’ll look at how you can keep going when something breaks.