Disaster prevention and recovery

Sunday 16 November
Summary Min 24 Max 39 Hot. Partly cloudy.
Brisbane area
Very hot. Mostly sunny morning. Slight (20%) chance of a shower in the afternoon. The chance of a thunderstorm in the afternoon. Winds north to northwesterly 20 to 30 km/h turning westerly 15 to 20 km/h during the day.
Severe weather
Hot and stormy weather! Schoolies Week! Christmas carols, cards and gifts in the shops!
That sounds like a typical Queensland summer. If I’m running a business, what should I be thinking about to make the best use of this weather and time of year?
1) Prepare for potential severe weather. Summer is the highest risk time of year for bushfires, heatwaves, storms floods and cyclones. What are the risks in my area and what can I do to prepare or reduce the risk? I won’t go into too much detail here as I’ve posted on this before. One thing I will say is, be prepared for power interruptions. These are the most likely issue in Brisbane and the South East. In Brisbane, there have been two severe floods in living memory but every summer there are several severe electrical storms in some part of Brisbane, frequently causing localised damage with things like fallen trees and interruptions to power supply.
2) Target your marketing message to clients who might be in “summer mode”. Your clients might have kids on holidays , be going to the beach, or preparing for a huge family Christmas. Social media and blogs might be more effective if they take on a summery tone.
3) Prepare for your own and your staff’s holidays. If someone who normally looks after your IT or social media is going away, what plans do you have in place. Do you want to continue “as normal” or will you just tell your clients you are on a break?
4) Can you target the holiday or gift markets in a new way? I haven’t got the answers on this one – it will be different for each business.

For myself though, I’m exploring how my target market wants to work with me in the holiday season and at other times.
I am holding a free drop in session in Brisbane to connect with my target market and understand their concern.
See www.electroniclighthouse.com.au/Events for details and if you know people who are struggling with tech gifts for children or grandchildren or just have smart phone or tablet questions, invite them to come along!

Large organisations spend a lot of money on IT security and on business continuity planning. These are both really important issues for you too. It is important to keep your computers secure by updating software and changing passwords regularly. If you use a cloud service, make sure you know their security policy and are satisfied they do enough to keep the type of information you store with them safe. If in doubt, set a password on confidential files stored in the cloud.

Business continuity planning is to do with identifying what could interrupt your business and how you could mitigate it. The most common risk is power and internet failure. In the South East Queensland region, bush fires, droughts, floods , hail storms and cyclones – yes, they can come south of Bundaberg – have all occurred during my lifetime. Cyclones are , of course, a bigger threat further north. Severe storms are the most common natural disaster in the Brisbane area. No matter how small your business, have a plan. What about criminal or terrorist acts?
What if you need to evacuate? What if you lose power? How do you keep staff informed? Can you build resiliance into your business?

It’s time to think and plan. For those of you in the South East of Queensland, storm season is here. Jacarandas are starting to flower, which herald summer, exams and storms. We will post more on thus in future. Severe weather Note that this weather map is a historical example only, not a current forecast.

In this Shiny new laptopseries, we will show you some of the things the big end of town do. Their practices and procedures are not always fitted for small business, but there is a lot you can learn. each week, we will look at a feature of large corporate and government IT departments and how it applies to small business. If you have ever wished you had a corporate IT department, read on. It may turn out you can have most of the benefits, with only a fraction of the costs.

The things that the big end of town do, which can be adapted to any business include strategic planning, business continuity planning, standards and procedures including security and social media policy, purchasing guideline and standards , business process improvement and rigorous project management. Sometimes these are collected under the umbrella of Organisational or technology architecture. In future posts we will discuss each of these areas.


A vending machine that gets you back online

Traditionally vending machines sell snacks, drinks and other after hours requirements. I recently came upon a vending machine which sell chargers. As I have an iPad with a battery that does not last as long as it should, I purchased the PowerPod Overnighter 2 from the machine in Central Brisbane, near Woolworths for $45.00

testing testing…

My initial impression is that it is a very usefuhl device. It charges my smart phone in the same time as a wall charger and indications are that it will last for the claimed three charges. I’ve done one so far, and two indicator lights are still on. With the iPad, other reviews intricate it will not charge it fully. However, it charged it from completely flat to 60% in a comparable time to the wall charger at which point I swapped over to the wall charger as it was night time and I needed the device first thing so didn’t want to take a risk of it not charging further. I think it would charge further and will do more tests. In any case, it would be enough to get me out of a tight corner on a day or overnight trip.

In summary, initial testing indicates the PowerPod performs as claimed. It’s a very useful device if you travel or as a precaution against power failure and I love the vending machine concept making them available in places where they are needed at times when electronics stores may not be open. Every tourist area and air or sea port or bus station should have one.

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