Hurricane Season PC and Data Protection

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. Following the recommendations below can reduce the loss of costly computer equipment and data during inclement weather.

Standard Best Practices

These precautions should be followed year-round.

  1. Backup Data Files - Your data files represent many hours of work and this effort should be protected against loss. If you have access to a network File Server, you may have been instructed to store your data files on your network drive. Data files that have been stored on the File Server network drive should be backed up to tape regularly (usually nightly) by the Network Administrator. Please confirm with your network administrator that procedures in place are sufficient to protect your data files. If a file is lost, it may be restored from the tapes. If you don't have access to a file server or network, some form of scheduled desktop data backup should be performed via an external hard drive. Copies of backups should be stored in an alternate, secure location in the event your primary storage location sustains extensive damage.
  2. 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 the computer down. 

Hurricane Preparation

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

  1. Obtain Latest Information - Check the University website at for the latest official University hurricane announcements or call the Emergency Information Hotline at 1-800-227-0354. 
  2. Backup Data Files - Although backups should be part of regular procedures, a separate full backup of your critical data should be performed before the University is closed in response to a hurricane threat. For users who store data files on a network server, your network administrator should perform the backup. It is crucial at this time that a copy of this backup be moved to a secure location an appropriate distance away in order to avoid the possibility that a hurricane would affect both locations.
  3. 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 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 sheeting.


These steps should be taken to resume normal computer operation after returning to work.

  1. 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. Call Risk Management at 284-3163 in order to initiate equipment recovery procedures.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Check UM Website - Updates to the status of major systems will be available at the University website at


Before an Emergency Home
Hurricane Preparedness If You See Something, Say Something
Active Shooter Preparedness Ready South Florida
StormReady Updating Evacuation Information on CaneLink
Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) UReady Continuity Planning
Essential Personnel Guidance Document Campus-Specific Plans
National Incident Management System (NIMS) Emergency Preparedness Training for Summer Camp Staff
OEM Training and Course Offerings Training and Events Calendar
Orientation for Parents
List of Federally Funded Mitigation Projects Miami-Dade County Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS)