The 5 Must-Haves In Every Prepper’s Home Office

Work from home?

Like to keep one step ahead of … whatever might go wrong?

So do I!

If you’re running a busy business from home, then you know how costly and embarrassing even relatively momentary periods of downtime can be:

  • Risk to deadlines
  • Reputational damage (see: risk to deadlines!)
  • Lost business (see: risk to deadlines and non-responsiveness)
  • Work projects getting pushed over into your personal time

To mitigate risk, you can equip your home office with a few technological bits and pieces that should keep all your key business systems — and you — online. At least when they need to be.

A Backup Internet Networking Stack

I’ recently described, in detail, how I spent about $200 on hardware in order to convert my sometimes-online home network into a very robust connectivity solution that should be online at least 99.9% of the time.

A small monthly connection overhead keeps it running.

I’ve even been able to use a connection bonding tool to speed up the baseline connection — all while driving much more reliable connectivity throughout the house. Faster and more reliable internet!

V1 of my ISP to cellular backup networking stack. Photo: author.

If you want all the detail on how to provision a redundant home internet network with backup / failover connectivity, then check out my posts below which go into all the detail.

An Appliance For Storing Computer Backups — And An Approach That Uses It

Another big tech focus of mine?

Backups!

Backups aren’t particularly cool or glamorous, I realize (hey, neither is prepping!).

But when your computer goes kaput just before you’re about to jump on a Zoom call you’ll be glad you have a spare SSD handy to boot into (set up with your must-have applications, of course).

For many years, I’ve been running Ubuntu Linux as my main operating system.

This article covers the core of my backup approach.

If you’re running a more common operating system, that guide probably won’t be much good to you. But try to adhere to at least the following:

  • The 3–2–1 rule: keep two backup copies of your primary data source at all times. One of those backups should be stored offsite. If your upload is good enough and you’re backing up incrementally, the cloud is a great offsite.
  • Take backups regularly and automatically. Don’t leave anything to memory. Most people have better things to be doing than thinking about whether they last took a backup.

Also useful:

  • A backup server. Or a network attached storage (NAS) device. Or a spare internal disk that you use exclusively for backups. But storing the backups on a different (onsite) appliance is a bit safer. If your computer is fried by a freak power surge, your backup won’t be.

Some Backup Power Solution(Or, At Minimum, A UPS — Or A Few Of Them)

I rent.

So while I’d love to have a generator at home, I feel like this probably isn’t the best time in my life to make that purchase.

My main motivators to purchase property (besides, you know, the feeling of owning a roof over my head);

  • Setting up some ridiculous home networking
  • Setting up a backup power solution

I kid. Power outages where I’m based aren’t frequent enough to make me want to go full-in on this. But down the line it is something I’d like to check out.

For now, I do the most common basic approach used in home networking: run my appliances off an uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

These are cheap, affordable, and (I think) must-haves for every desktop computer user. They also provide some power conditioning to protect your appliances from minor surges.

Tip: Buy some adhesive glow in the dark type and put some along your UPS and a power strip running off it (C14 adapters) to illuminate both in the event of a power outage during nighttime hours.

A Supply Of Ramen (Or Tuna)

Yes, really.

From time to time, we all have to skip meals.

Sometimes, we forget to do the shopping when we said we were going to do it.

If you’re in the middle of an important client deliverable — or about to send in a pixel-perfect presentation — then you won’t want the inconvenience of eating to stand in the way of getting the big project bid in.

Keep a few dried goods in your pantry. Try to access them as infrequently as possible and eat better quality food instead.

But it’s always handy to have a few spare meals on hand that can go from in-the-packaging to in-your-body in no time at all.

A Backup Computer (And Router And …. Potentially Everything Else)

My primary computing interface (a desktop). My laptop serves as its backup in the event of hardware failure. Photo: author.

Our backup internet connection should keep us online pretty much always.

We haven’t created five nines (99.999%) enterprise-grade redundancy here.

But for the high availability needs of your typical home-based business user … this should more than suffice. By deploying this setup, I’ve gone from having near daily downtime (what got me interested in this) to almost none at all.

We’ve also invested in software backups so that we can roll our operating system back in time if needs be.

But what about … the computer itself?

If we want to extent the idea of redundancy to its farthest possible reach, then we’d quickly reach the conclusion that we should have “backups” for just about everything we use to work. For instance:

  • Our office chair
  • Our office table

However, even dedicated preppers have finite time with which to set up their systems. Most have limited floor space within which to house their gear. And virtually all of us have some kind of budgetary constraint as to how far we can take this.

What I’d suggest, therefore, is to focus on the essentials. Have “backups” on hand for those. And find “second best” solutions for the other things.

For instance: even if you don’t have a spare office table and leather chair at home, you probably have at least a couch you could work on if needs be.

If you use a desktop as your main computing interface, then you could buy backup hardware components. But that would likely prove unwieldy and if (say) a CPU fails, you’ll probably want to avail of the opportunity to buy an updated model.

What I’d recommend, therefore, is contenting yourself with having another computer in the house to work from. My backup computer is my laptop. If you use a laptop day to day, then keep a spare one handy and periodically test it to make sure that it still turns on and is good to go in the event it’s needed.

There’s a whole industry — business continuity planning — that creates backup systems that are designed to ensure the continuous operation of businesses during times of emergency (or at least some of their mission-critical systems and human resources).

If your livelihood depends upon your ability to generate revenue from work that you do at home, then you can step up your own continuity game by ensuring that your most essential systems — your internet connection and your computer — are protected by backup systems.

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Daytime: writing for other people. Nighttime: writing for me. Or the other way round. Enjoys: Linux, tech, beer, random things. https://www.danielrosehill.com

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Daniel Rosehill

Daniel Rosehill

Daytime: writing for other people. Nighttime: writing for me. Or the other way round. Enjoys: Linux, tech, beer, random things. https://www.danielrosehill.com

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