Storm Season May be More Dangerous for Your Business than You Think
As of June 1st, storm season has officially begun. The storm season not only brings hurricanes and heavy rains and winds, but it brings threats to your business. With these storms we see an increase in power outages, and these outages can have devastating effects on your business if you do not properly prepare. Recently we saw British Airlines suffer a catastrophic power failure that resulted in physical damage to their equipment and a negative image in the public eye as thousands of flyers were left stranded. We want to give you some tips so that you can be properly prepared, and not end up in a situation like BA.
1. Have back up storage
This should go without say, but all data should be backed up and stored. In the event of an unexpected loss of power, data can be corrupted and/or loss permanently.
2. Have updated documentation of the system
If something does fail, troubleshooting takes significantly longer when the network diagrams are out-of-date. Also, not usually seen as an ‘IT’ thing, you want to have your electrical power outlined on paper as well. To properly plan for a power outage situation you must become familiar with the electrical system that is used by your company. However, considering the complexity of most power systems, it would be ridiculous to try and memorize everything. Therefore having detailed documentation of the system is crucial. Be sure that everything is fully updated and properly labeled.
3. Uninterrupted power supply (UPS)
having a UPS is another crucial factor in protecting your company in the case of a power outage. This UPS will only run for a short amount of time after the outage, but it will give you enough time properly back-up system and data files and shut the systems down as well as allow the backup generator the reach full power.
4. Surge protection
Most damage from power outages comes from when the power comes back on and an electrical surge passes through the system. In the BA case, the power was improperly turned back on and resulted in a power surge to the system which resulted in physical damage and heightened the issue. Note that most surge protectors don’t protect against lightning! To protect yourself from this kind of damage install a surge protection device (SPD) on the incoming electrical service of the building. The damage caused by most externally generated surges, like lightning, will be greatly reduced. Enhance your protection by installing SPDs on distribution panels supplying critical or sensitive loads, and locally at the equipment itself.
5. Make sure employees are clear on procedures
In the BA situation, it has recently come out that the cause of the major meltdown may have been caused by an employee who was not sure on what to do in the situation so he overrode the automatic switch-over sequence. It is VERY important that all employees are familiar on the protocol for when power outages occur. Everyone should have a clear understanding on what their responsibility is in every situation. Communication procedures would also be clearly specified. So that employees know who they are supposed to talk and who should be communicating information to the clients.
It is important to plan ahead for these kinds of things. If you do not there will be nothing you can do to protect your equipment and information when the power outage comes. Storm season is here and it’s time to get prepared for what comes with it. If you have any questions feel free to contact us at (518) 320-8906 or contact us.