For many home-based businesses and home offices, computer network redundancy can mean the difference between success and failure. A good plan for providing undisrupted work can mean the difference between keeping your status as a telecommuter or losing it.
* Computer redundancy: I have been able to assure clients 1500 miles away that computer equipment failure will never cause me to miss one of their deadlines, even though I live in a remote area. Clients seem to relax when I explain that I maintain a duplicate system (including applications). As part of my Business Continuity Plan, I keep this duplicate computer in another part of the house. This “extra" computer did not require an additional purchase for me, either. Instead of selling my older computer when I bought I new one, I kept it for my backup.
* Daily Data Backup: Unless you have a remote server connected to your home office network, you should have an external hard drive that will easily run on either your main computer or your backup. Then, if your main computer crashes, breaks or is stolen, you can plug your external drive into your backup computer and keep working.
* Software application redundancy: Many software companies allow you to install their applications on your desktop computer and your laptop, providing you don’t run both copies of the application at the same time. Just remember to run your backup computer occasionally to download and install OS and application upgrades.
* Cables: Unless you live real close to a computer store, you should keep extra cables on hand. Occasionally computer and network cables go bad, and it is worth the small expense to keep replacements in a cabinet or closet. That extra cable can mean the difference between meeting a deadline … or not.
* Peripherals: Have at least one extra mouse and keyboard on hand. I also keep an extra printer. Since my clients often want hard copies, I need to have a working printer at all times.
* Internet connectivity: Know the places in your area (i.e. library, 'Net Cafe) where you could use a public computer to occasionally check your email until your Internet connection is restored.