Hurricane Season - Data Protection

Protect Your Data

South Florida's weather can pose a severe threat to our sensitive computer hardware and data. Frequent summer thunderstorms can cause rain damage, electrical surges, and power outages. Powerful hurricanes add the threat of high winds, flooding, and structural damage during hurricane season, which starts June 1 and runs through November 30. Following the recommendations below can reduce the loss of costly computer equipment and data during inclement weather. (Please note: This is a guideline. It is not a representation of University-wide policy.)

Hurricane Preparation

These steps should be completed before employees are dismissed from work due to a threatening hurricane:

  • Store all of your data in one of our cloud-based solutions:
  • Ensure your contact information in Workday is up-to-date and accurate.
  • UPS - Due to the frequency of summer electrical storms, protecting computer equipment with an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) that provides both over and under voltage protection is recommended. These devices contain a battery that will provide electrical current for a short period (usually 4-15 minutes) to a computer even when the power is out. Some UPS devices can be configured to signal a computer to initiate an orderly shutdown if the power goes out, even if the user is not available to shut down the computer.
  • Computer storage - As a last step, your computer should be shut down properly and unplugged from the wall outlet. Do the same for the monitor, laptops, and/or mobile devices, and all peripherals such as printers, scanners, and speakers. Move the computer and peripherals away from windows and doors towards the center of the room. The equipment should be securely supported at least two feet from the floor and covered with plastic.
  • Recovery - These steps should be taken to resume normal computer operation after returning to work:
    • Initiate Damage Assessment Procedures - Take note of the condition of the computer equipment. If it is visibly damaged or appears to be wet, DO NOT plug the equipment in or turn it on.
    • Verify Electrical Integrity - Computer equipment should not be turned on if electrical power is unstable. Confirm this with your system administrator or supervisor if you are unsure.
    • Verify Network Service Availability - Central services such as network connectivity, network file servers, or email servers may not be available. Verify the availability of services with your network administrator before proceeding.
    • Verify Proper Operation - Return the computer to its original location and reattach all peripherals. Plug in all power cords and turn the computer on. Take note of error messages and write them down.
  • Obtain the latest information - Check the University website at http://www.miami.edu for the latest official University hurricane announcements or call the Hurricane/Emergency hotline number: (305) 284-5151