Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Floods and Technology

Harvey, the hurricane and tropical storm hitting Texas and other Gulf Coast locations, has clearly been devastating. Stories and images of massive destruction, people forced from their homes, and damage and loss of property fill the news. Most tragically, there has been loss of life. The impacts of this massive storm on the communities hardest hit will be felt for a very long time. When the waters recede, we will likely see many homes, streets, roadways and bridges that are damaged beyond repair.
One interesting and positive element of the story is that computers, smart phones, and communications technology are all being leveraged exceptionally well in flood relief efforts. A Washington Post story reported, “Using social media, flood victims who still had power were able to communicate with public officials directly or to bypass them entirely and coordinate their own rescues with private citizens.”

On the flip side of the coin, technology has also been a casualty of the storm. Flooding has caused damage to communications infrastructure including cell towers and fiber and coax cable in the ground. This hampers the efforts of the many first responders and volunteers who are working so hard to help those affected.

In the weeks and months after the storm clears the area and waters recede, and as people begin to return to their flood-damaged homes, personal technology is likely to have taken a major hit. Home computers and the data they hold, including important financial documents and the digital photo collections of families, may be damaged beyond recovery. This is another opportunity to think about how we treat and protect data in our personal life, and perhaps a good argument for cloud-based data backups of digital assets we never want to lose.

How do you protect your technology and your data from physical risks like floods? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts with us.


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