It started insidiously…you got your first personal computer and fell in love with the word processor.
Soon the thought of having to correct typos manually seemed archaic. Then the internet happened and everything changed, literally, overnight. Email replaced snail mail; communication became more instant…and more impersonal. Need to send a note at three in the morning, no problem. Need research, “Google” it. Then the cell phones became tiny computers and access became even greater. Now you can carry your communication with you. Running a business, even a small business, became impossible without the internet.
So, now with the issues of viruses and data hacking, security problems are more serious. When the internet slows or drops completely, even for a few minutes, business stops! No communication can happen at all unless you go back to the “old” ways of conducting business. Business professionals that rely completely on their cell phones and tablets will find some of these suggestions ridiculous or even unfamiliar, but it might not hurt to have these solutions as a backup in times of communication shutdown. If you are a sole proprietor of your business it might be helpful to retrain yourself in some of the “old school” ways.
- Hard Copy Paper Backup-Most companies keep electronic backups of daily work or are now storing information in the “cloud”, but keeping a paper hard copy in an office file of the most current accounts can save a world of hassle, especially if you are meeting a client or giving a seminar that day. Malware is also a very real threat and corrupted copies can cause days of down business if files are lost and need to be fished out of a backup.
- Land Line Phone-Most businesses use VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone systems that digitally work over the internet. Not all VoIP phone systems rely solely on the internet, but if yours does, your phone will be off-line as well. Many small businesses have dropped land line phones completely and use only a cell phone. Land lines rarely fail and don’t rely on the internet for service keeping verbal communication workable. It may seem backwards, but a corded phone plugged into a wall that runs through the telephone lines almost always works! You may even discover that your clients appreciate talking to you in person.
- Credit Card Payments- If your business accepts credit card payments, the internet is essential. When it’s down electronic payments cannot be processed. Some companies may be willing to take the risk and keep up with all of the regulatory requirements around having customer credit information, especially if they already do so, but it is a security risk having the information available in their data files. Having a secure protocol in this situation is very important to keeping your clients’ trust.
- Mail and Handwriting-Here’s a novel concept, handwriting (in cursive!) or typing and mailing the information through the postal service works well too. It may be way slower, but it is definitely more reliable in a pinch. Knowing how to use legible cursive handwriting is turning into a dying art, but one that is important. Knowing (and caring) how to spell correctly and use proper grammar is a skill that will tell your clients that you are not lazy…or stupid. In this current daily use of texting, people have forgotten how to spell. Here’s a tip-don’t use text vernacular when sending a letter and definitely not on a resume’! U probly wont git the jobe, N ur client won’t be impressed! Lol!
While it seems silly to describe these obvious alternatives, many businesses never think of the possibility of losing internet communications or security breaches, until it happens. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use any of these suggestions, but as I’ve always found that if you’re prepared for a problem it rarely happens. At Summit Executive Suites, we take security very seriously with strong firewalls and backup systems which are included with your lease along with a very pleasant work environment and front desk assistance that’s here to help. Come in for a tour and see how quickly and affordably we can get your business up and running-and keep it that way.