Securing Electronic Devices and Data

Do Not Leave Your Electronic Devices and Data to Chance

Think about the electronic devices you use at home and in the office, which may include a phone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer, television, or security system. These technologies help us receive the latest news, speak to our loved ones, and call for help. Data inside these devices operate businesses, monitor properties, and store important records.

Securing your data and devices during a disater or emergency.Without question, it is much more difficult to return to a normal home and work life after a storm has passed if these technologies have failed and if important records have been lost. Do not leave your data and devices to chance.

10 Tips For Securing Your Electronic Devices and Data

The following 10 tips can help you secure electronic devices and digital information for hurricanes and other disasters.

    1. Schedule your personal and workplace data and devices to be backed up regularly. Hurricane season should not be your cue to prepare data and devices for a disaster, as anything could happen to your home or office throughout the year. However, the start of hurricane season can be a reminder to confirm that automatic backups are regularly scheduled and working properly. This is extremely important for those who own a business and who may rely on the files and data saved on a computer to operate that business after the storm has passed.
    2. Scan important paperwork and documents into a digital format. This can be done using a scanner, a handheld camera, or with a free app on a smart phone that digitizes documents using the phone’s camera (such as TurboScan).
    3. Take before and after photos and videos of your home, business, furniture, and valuables. These records will be important if an insurance claim needs to be made.
    4. Once your key information is saved digitally, back up your data and files to an external hard drive or USB flash drive. When updated frequently, these backup drives become a portable copy of the data in your computer or device. If the call is made to evacuate, do not forget to take your backup drives with you.
    5. Back up your data and files to a cloud-based server. Uploading “to the cloud” provides an added layer of protection in case something happens to your phone, computer, or backup drives. With cloud-based protection, your information is secured online and can be easily restored to the original device or to a replacement device.
    6. After everything is backed up digitally, it is wise to store all important documents and keepsakes in a fire-safe, waterproof container that is easily portable. This could involve such important items as birth certificates and passports, or irreplaceable keepsakes like family photo albums.
    7. Place electronic devices in high and dry locations away from windows. Water is an obvious enemy of electronic technology. Even the smallest amount of water can ruin your device.
    8. Make sure electronic devices are unplugged during a storm. Power outages and lightning strikes can occur and cause major damage to devices, including computers, servers, and televisions. Charge portable battery packs before the storm so you can avoid having to plug in any devices.
    9. Limit the use of electronics until the storm has passed and power is stabilized. It will be tempting to turn on your phone or computer to check for internet access and any news on the storm’s path. It is important to turn off and unplug devices to prevent power surge damage and battery drain. You may need to make an emergency call during or after the storm, so you need to conserve your battery life.
    10. You may be thinking, “If I can’t use my device, how will I get the news?” Your disaster supply kit should contain a battery-powered radio with plenty of extra batteries. This will allow you to tune in to radio broadcasts for storm tracking and important safety updates from your local emergency management agency and NOAA Weather Radio. Important local radio station channels are listed on the inside of this guide.