When Spring Pounces: What Storms Can Do to Your Office Technology?
Heavy winds and rains can knock out power and telecommunications lines. Lightning is another major threat. A direct strike, indirect strike, or power surge can be disastrous. Excess voltage can overwhelm unprotected devices and cause shorts. From computers and printers to phone systems and data servers, this can quickly become an expensive problem - and a logistical nightmare as you try to perform business-critical functions.
Prevention is the Best Cure
Take steps now to prepare for tempestuous spring weather - and prevent disaster:
- Install Lightning Rods. This is old-school! Lightning rods have been used for centuries. They disperse a direct or indirect strike of lightning around or through a building without letting excessive voltage wreak havoc on electronics and technology. Today’s systems also include features to reduce or eliminate “side flash” - or arcs of electricity that can jump across gaps and injure people.
- Invest in voltage or surge arresters. These are similar to surge protectors that you use to protect appliances, like your refrigerator - and which you should be using for your electronics and outlets! They work by separating high voltage exterior wiring from interior wiring to protect devices from voltage spikes. For equipment like HVAC and data servers, these are highly recommended.
- Install UPS devices on critical technology. An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) gives you peace of mind by providing battery-powered backup during power outages. Some UPSs also allow you to only power the device with electricity from the battery. If you need to save and shut down important work, this helps you do so safely. It also provides more protection from electrical surges.
- Proactively invest in a business recovery solution. StarRecovery, for example, allows you to maintain communications when spring storms hit your business hard. You can reroute customer calls to employee cells or another location, operate auto attendants, deliver voicemail updates to all employees’ email inboxes, and more. The ability to communicate consistently is essential.
- Develop a strong disaster recovery plan. You can’t control nature, but you can control your business’s response to a disaster. A recovery plan should include steps for minimizing damage and downtime. Also create a clear chain of command: who communicates with whom? Who calls the shots?
Some other smart steps to take:
- Label all of your circuit breakers.
- If feasible, maintain an onsite generator.
- If a storm is coming, unplug equipment like computers and printers. UPSs should be installed to protect large equipment, like HVAC, refrigeration, and data server systems.
- Always keep digital backup files for critical information (e.g. cloud-based solutions keep important data safe offsite).
- Take an inventory of your important equipment. If you need to file an insurance claim, for example, this will make the process more streamlined.
And always make sure your business’s most critical assets - your people - are safe. Heed any calls for evacuation, release employees early so they can get home safely, and/or have a plan to stay in place until the storm passes.
If you have more questions about keeping your business technology safe from spring storms, ISS Technologies is here to help.