Winter is Coming: How to Prepare Your Business to Survive Massachusetts' Winter
As Game of Thrones' Ned Stark famously said, "Winter is coming." And for businesses in Massachusetts, that means preparing for the harsh winter weather that is sure to come.
From heavy snowfall to freezing temperatures, Massachusetts winters can be brutal. But with the right preparations, your business can survive and thrive during the winter season. In this article, we'll discuss the steps you can take to prepare your business for Massachusetts' winter and ensure its success.
Why Winter Preparations are Important for Massachusetts Businesses
Massachusetts is no stranger to harsh winter weather. With an average snowfall of over 40 inches per year, businesses in the state must be prepared for the challenges that come with winter.
Here are some reasons why winter preparations are crucial for Massachusetts businesses:
Safety of Employees and Customers
One of the most important reasons to prepare your business for winter is to ensure the safety of your employees and customers. Slippery sidewalks and parking lots can lead to accidents and injuries, which can result in costly lawsuits. By taking the necessary precautions, you can prevent these accidents and keep everyone safe.
Avoiding Business Disruptions
Heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures can cause disruptions to your business operations. Power outages, road closures, and transportation delays can all impact your ability to serve customers and conduct business as usual. By preparing for these potential disruptions, you can minimize their impact and keep your business running smoothly.
Protecting Your Property
Winter weather can also cause damage to your business property. Snow and ice buildup can lead to roof collapses, frozen pipes, and other costly damages. By preparing your property for winter, you can prevent these issues and avoid expensive repairs.
Preventing Data Loss
Physical damage can lead to digital damage. If something were to happen that compromised your network and servers, you could also be looking at extensive data loss and downtime. On top of that, inclement weather can cause power outages, brownouts, and surges, which can also lead to data loss and hardware failure. Having ironclad redundancies in place to ensure your data is backed up properly can save your business if the worst were to happen.
How to Prepare Your Business for Massachusetts' Winter
Now that we understand the importance of winter preparations, let's discuss the steps you can take to get your business ready for the season.
Create a Winter Emergency Plan
The first step in preparing your business for winter is to create a winter emergency plan. This plan should outline the steps you will take in case of a winter storm or other emergency. It should include procedures for closing the business, notifying employees, and communicating with customers. Make sure all employees are aware of the plan and know their roles in case of an emergency.
Stock Up on Supplies
Make sure your business is stocked up on essential supplies for winter. This includes salt or ice melt for sidewalks and parking lots, shovels for snow removal, and emergency supplies such as flashlights and batteries. It's also a good idea to have a backup generator in case of power outages. It also never hurts to have a couple extra jugs of drinking water.
Inspect and Maintain Your Property
Before winter arrives, it's important to inspect and maintain your business property. This includes checking for any potential hazards, such as loose roof tiles or damaged gutters, and making necessary repairs. It's also a good idea to have your heating system and pipes inspected to ensure they are in good working condition.
Develop a Snow Removal Plan
Snow removal is a crucial aspect of winter preparations for businesses in Massachusetts. Make sure you have a plan in place for removing snow from your property. This may involve hiring a professional snow removal service or designating employees to handle snow removal. It's important to have a plan in place to ensure your property is safe and accessible for employees and customers.
Communicate with Employees and Customers
Communication is key when it comes to winter preparations for your business. Make sure to keep your employees and customers informed about any changes in business operations due to winter weather. This may include closing the business, changing business hours, or offering alternative ways for customers to access your products or services.
Note that employees that commute might try to leave early to get to the office, so communicating far enough in advance will help keep people safe. If your office hasn’t been doing remote work for a while, it also doesn’t hurt to run through everything required for that, such as making sure employees can log into the VPN and get to everything they need.
Audit and Fully Test Your Data Backup Solution
Auditing and testing your data backup solution is a crucial step in preparing your business for winter. It ensures that your data is protected in case of any unforeseen events, such as power outages or equipment failures.
This involves reviewing the backup processes and systems currently in place, assessing their effectiveness, and identifying any potential vulnerabilities. This audit will help you identify any gaps in your data backup strategy and determine if any updates or improvements are needed.
Once you have completed the audit, it's essential to fully test your data backup solution. This involves simulating various scenarios to ensure that your backup systems are functioning correctly and that your data can be restored successfully. It's recommended to test both the backup process itself and the restoration process to ensure that your data is recoverable in the event of a disaster.
Real-World Examples of Winter Preparations for Massachusetts Businesses
Let's take a look at some real-world examples of businesses in Massachusetts that have successfully prepared for winter.
The Boston Beer Company
The Boston Beer Company, makers of Samuel Adams beer, takes winter preparations seriously. They have a dedicated team that monitors weather forecasts and prepares for potential disruptions to their business operations. They also have a snow removal plan in place and communicate with employees and customers about any changes in business operations due to winter weather.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is responsible for maintaining the state's roads and highways, making winter preparations a top priority. They have a fleet of over 4,000 pieces of snow and ice removal equipment and a team of over 5,000 employees dedicated to snow removal. They also use technology, such as GPS tracking, to monitor and manage their snow removal efforts.
Datalyst, Massachusetts’ Managed IT Provider
Not to toot our own horn, but we take inclement weather seriously, but data backup and business continuity is always number one on our list. If something isn't backed up, it might as well not exist in the first place.
As an IT company, our most important data is historical documentation and records of the work we do. All of the projects we run, every single ticket we resolve, and all of our interactions get thoroughly documented so we can reference them. Things like product warranties, end-of-life dates, serial numbers, and other important information gets included in the mix, and we keep track of the minutiae of the clients we serve in order to always perform our best and keep ourselves as effective as possible.
This means multiple systems need to be thoroughly backed up and easy for us to get to if something were to happen to the servers they exist on. We back up our data constantly throughout the day and it's securely pushed to an offsite data center where we can always access it if we need to. That way, no single disaster could render our business without our precious data and client information. This means that our services can continue and our clients can absolutely rely on us, even if a blizzard covers us in 10 feet of snow.
On top of that, our techs are capable of working from anywhere, and can perform most duties remotely. We know that if your business is struggling due to an outage, the last thing you need is your IT team out of commission. As long as there is electricity and Internet access, there should be some level of movement.
Who is Responsible for Winter Preparations in a Business?
In most businesses, the responsibility for winter preparations falls on the business owner or manager. However, it's important to involve all employees in the process and make sure everyone is aware of their roles and responsibilities. This will ensure that everyone is prepared and ready to handle any winter weather that comes their way.
Winter preparations are crucial for businesses in Massachusetts. It's a good idea to audit your backup now, and if you aren't confident in your backup solution, let's get something up and running before the snow starts to add up. To get started, give us a call at (774) 213-9701.