I didn’t really set out to establish redundancy in my trading, it came out of a few close calls. The biggest being dropped internet. I work off wifi myself, and while yes it would be much better to be plugged directly into an ethernet cable, it just isn’t practical in my current set up. Well, when the wifi has cut out, whether it be just a poor signal, my laptop decides to switch networks, or the actual internet is down, I quickly realized I really needed a plan B. Nothing is more stressful than being live in a trade and you lose your ability to manage it.
So don’t be like the old Canadian Futures Trader, be more like the new Canadian Futures Trader. While I still have further to go with building in some redundancy, I’m on my way and making plans to a nice safe setup.
Backup Internet Connection
This is the biggest one for me, and probably out of the items below the thing most people would more likely face. After having the internet cut out several times over the last year, twice while in a trade (one ended up hitting my stop loss, the other actually took off and it kind of worked out well to be honest), I knew I needed a plan. Plugging directly into the router isn’t an option for myself based on its location, and the fact that plugging in won’t matter anyways if your internet just goes completely out, there is a simple solution: Your phone.
These days any smart phone will allow you to tether a device, and/or use it as a hotspot. I use an iPhone myself, and it’s a quick setting to turn on the hot spot action. Just be familiar with how this works and get it all set up in advance. Then if you wifi and/or internet cuts out all together, pop on that hotspot and get connected.
If you really want to go an extra level, you can buy a portable wifi device, but you’ll have to pay monthly for service for something you are unlikely to need often. These days I’d really recommend just sticking with your phones hotspot functionality.
2 Computers (and an extra mouse and keyboard)
Okay, 2 computers is a bit excessive, and even I don’t go that far. It’s unlikely your computer would just stop working, but I think we’ve all had situations where we had computer issues out of no where. Maybe Windows crashes, a software update starts all of a sudden, or a driver decides not to work. If you already have 2 computers, say a desktop and a laptop, set up that 2nd computer so its loaded with at least the minimum software you’d need. For myself that would be Rithmic Pro for most of my accounts and Ninja Trader for my NT Brokerage account.
I also recommend if you use keyboard and/or mouse (thinking of a desktop, or if you plug into your laptop), use ones that plug in, not wireless. I personally would far more prefer a wireless mouse and keyboard, but since they seem to run out of batteries every few months, I’d rather be safe and plugged in directly. Another option if you do go wireless, don’t wait until they run low, just replace the batteries once a month.
As well if you want to take it an extra step, have a spare mouse and keyboard ready to plug in. I can say I’ve never had a keyboard just stop working, and at most a wireless mouse ran out of batteries, but if you want to spend a few dollars to possibly prevent an issue in the future, it’s not a bad idea. Just get a cheap basic keyboard and mouse that would work in a pinch.
Power can cut out at any moment, and chances are you won’t have a heads up on this. If you trade using a laptop, this won’t be an issue as your battery will kick in (granted you’ll lose your internet, so see above again about the reason for needing backup wifi). If you trade on a desktop though, instantly you have no computer. I highly recommend you buy a simple UPS – Uninterrupted Power Supply. It doesn’t have to be super fancy, just something to keep your computer alive so you can manage your trade. Below is a simple and cheap one from Amazon, which I have myself. You can pay lots more for one that will last longer, has a fancy display, has more power ports, etc, but at a minimum, spring the $60 or so and get something. Amazon Basics 8 Outlet Surge Protector and Battery Backup is the first one shown below, it’s simple and relatively cheap.
Cloud or External Drive Backup
This isn’t so much about redundancy in the moment, but I do recommend having some type of backup ongoing. Whether it’s one of the countless backup services (I use Sync.com myself but there’s plenty like Google Drive, Backblaze, and others). I use mine both as an ongoing backup of my computers, but also to store most of my documents and files I don’t need day to day. Keeps the hard drive lean and mean.
You could also opt for a physical external backup drive, the only thing is to make sure it’s plugged in and running backups regularly. I used to go this route, but found I would constantly unplug it or disable the backup software, so in the end it really wasn’t a true backup. The online services work better for me.
Always Have A Stop Loss
It doesn’t have to be a close stop, just an emergency stop. Something that if you did get shut out and the price of whatever you are trading just completely went against you, it wouldn’t completely destroy your account. While you might not be happy eating a big loss, I’d rather a 10 tick loss than a 11+ tick loss. Again, unlikely this will all come into play, but we are talking about redundancy here. Just know your product and where would be a safe place to put the emergency stop loss.
Redundancy is one of those things that’s easy to ignore since it usually involves spending money on stuff that isn’t going to make you money at all. I know we’d all rather put money into our trading accounts or to a vacation rather than a spare keyboard, mouse and battery backup, but the money it could save you if things do go wrong is money well spent now. Consider it insurance, a one time cost, to protect all your future trading millions.
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