UPDATE: Hurricane Florence MAY Not Hit Virginia Directly, But Just In Case…

Even though it looks like we might get lucky and escape the worst of Hurricane Florence as it moves inland, we are sending these recommendations out to our business clients, just in case it changes track again and barrels into Central Virginia:

PJ Networks is making the following recommendations to all of our business clients in order to protect their business equipment and hopefully minimize the chances of taking any damage during power outages, surges and brownouts:

  • Before leaving your business office on Friday (or Thursday if the storm hits early), power down ALL of your computer and network equipment, turn off your UPS battery backups and unplug them from the wall outlet
  • Unplug any equipment plugged directly into a wall outlet, including servers, workstations, switches, routers, printers and other network devices
  • Make sure that you have a recent copy of your local backup drives stored safely off site. (Cloud backups will be safe in the Cloud)
  • If you must be open for business throughout the course of the storm, power down any unnecessary computers and other devices for the duration

When you return to your offices on Monday, assuming the storm has passed, plug all computers, computers and equipment back in and power them back on this order:

  • Routers, switches, firewalls, Internet modems
  • Servers (wait 15 minutes for servers to power back up fully)
  • Workstations
  • Printers
  • Other network devices

It may take up to 20 minutes for everything to come back up completely, so please be patient

There may very well be Internet outages, even if power is fully functional. Keep your Internet service bills handy so that you have contact phone numbers and account numbers handy and can call to report any service outages

Brownouts and power sags can be just as damaging as power outages! When computers and electronic devices receive less than 120V of power, it can do serious damage to circuit boards, capacitors and other internal components. If the power is bouncing up and down or you notice that your lights are dimming or cycling through bright and dim phases, then it is not safe to use your equipment unless you have a good quality battery backup with AVR (automatic Voltage Regulation) to even out the spikes and sags in power.

If power is lost and then restored at your place of your business, we will do our best to respond to any emergency calls on Friday and throughout the weekend, but please be aware that I am ordering my staff to not taking any unnecessary risks or travel in dangerous weather. We strongly recommend the same for our clients. We will provide remote support wherever possible, but will prioritize our support calls based on severity of impact to our clients’ ability to conduct business. On-site support will only be provided if roads are clear, travel is safe and our engineers have the ability to get to client sites without endangering their safety.

One of the biggest risks to computer equipment – especially servers – is when power is going up and down in short cycles. If a computer is booting up when it loses power, it may shut down “hard”. When it turns back on, it may try to automatically come back up in recovery mode. Please DO NOT choose any startup options that indicate Recovery Mode, Repair Mode or anything other than “Start Normally”. Doing so may corrupt the operating system files and/or wipe out existing configurations.

If your work computers (including servers) are left on when you leave the office and you cannot get back to turn them off once the storm hits, please let us know immediately, so that we can try to connect in remotely and power them down gracefully for you.

If everyone uses common sense, avoids unnecessary risks and follows the guidelines above, it will minimize the impact of the upcoming storm on your business equipment and minimize the risk to your business continuity. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us before, during or after this storm has passed! That’s what we’re here for. Our extensions forward through to our cellphones, so even if we lose power at our office(s), we should still be able to respond to your phone calls, assuming cellphone service has not been disrupted. I will ask for all of our engineers to be on call throughout the duration of Hurricane Florence as it moves through Virginia. If for some reason you cannot get through to your primary engineer, you can choose Option 1 from our phone menu for Business Computer Support, or use our dial by name menu to reach another engineer.

We’re Virginians – we’ll make through this just fine if we use common sense and pull together during emergencies like this. With God’s grace and a little luck, this weather event will not be as bad as predicted, and on Monday morning we will all be able to return to business as usual on Monday morning. If the storm lasts longer than that, then please stay on “lockdown mode”, at least until the worst of it has passed.  Better safe than sorry.

Thank you for trusting PJ Networks with your technology needs. As always, let’s be safe out there!

         -PJ

Phil Jaderborg, Chief Executive Officer

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