Online IT Support - News

Running a Business Off-Grid

Running an online business relies heavily on power and internet connectivity. Without either of these, the business simply cannot function.

However, the risks associated with ensuring you have power and internet connectivity can be reduced by giving your business some options such as an alternative location in which to work.

In our case, the work space for an online IT support business needs to have power and internet connectivity. A spare office might be an option, but rent is a large overhead and, well, we much prefer working from home now that COVID has lead to it becoming socially acceptable!

So, instead of renting an office, why not combine work with pleasure? If your business can operate from wherever you are, then why not enjoy life a little at the same time as creating many of the features of a good disaster recovery plan?!

Our MD, Eddie, has kitted out a motorhome to support working from wherever he is. A large capacity, portable lithium battery unit serves power to appliances like a microwave, kettle, toaster, his laptop and a mobile broadband router. This battery is then rechargable via a solar panel on the roof, from running the engine, or from electric hookup to a mains source such as a camp site or house. There’s enough juice in the battery to run a laptop for up to 2 weeks without a recharge, so there’s plenty of scope for off-grid adventures.

Off Grid Mobile Working
Off-grid mobile working

A mobile broadband router with a 4G SIM card is coupled to a high-gain antenna allowing broadband connectivity from almost anywhere.

Among other excursions this year, Eddie has been fortunate enough to take a 2 week trip around Scotland’s North Coast and a 2300 mile road trip around France, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. With internet connectivity pretty much everywhere, he’s been able to stay in touch and provide remote support while on his travels.

Off-grid van life may not be your thing but that’s possibly missing the point. For example, what happens to your business if we have blackouts this winter?

Expanding on the idea

We have been warned that there may be power blackouts this winter. Whether this happens or not, remains to be seen. However, at it’s heart, there are 3 elements to this challenge.

1. Location

If something happens to the place that you work, then you need somewhere else to work from. The question you need to ask yourself is, what would I need in order to work from there?

2. Power

If there’s a power cut, how long could you work for? Maybe as long as your laptop’s battery lasts? Is that long enough for you to do your work?

3. Internet

If the internet goes down, what can you do? Do you have an alternative internet connection?


Solutions are perhaps not quite as drastic as you might imagine, but some pre-thought is required before the event in order for you to be prepared – both mentally, and physically.

Your location – perhaps a friend, neighbour or relative can offer you somewhere to work if something happens to your home office. If not, perhaps a local pub, or even a hotel?

Power – This is trickier. If your power is out, then the chances are that your neighbours and local facilities are also out. Also, if your power has gone, then so has your broadband because your router is now turned off. The battery-power unit in Eddie’s motorhome is portable and something like this one would be an excellent addition to your setup.

Internet – If your internet goes down, then you’re effectively disconnected from your online business. However, you may be able to work on files and documents saved locally on your laptop. Another option is to tether your laptop to your mobile phone to get an internet connection that way.

Disaster Recover Planning

These questions, and many others besides them, are all part of the disaster recovery planning that every business should have in place.

In the heat of the moment, it’s often hard to react with a sensible plan and it will take much longer to come up with a workable solution. Therefore, making disaster recovery plans like these in advance will help your business survive when the going gets tough.

If you could use a hand with your disaster recovery planning or you’d like to find out more about making your business more mobile, please get in touch with us on 0115 8240825.

By Eddie Palmer

Eddie Palmer is the founder of Nottingham-based Your Computer Department.