Never Underestimate the Potential for Power Outages or Their Damage to Your Business

August 11, 2017

By Erik Linask - Group Editorial Director

The weather is perfect, blue skies and sun, with a slight breeze off the Pacific Ocean.  What can go wrong as you enjoy your week at Moonstone Beach in Moclips, Washington?  Certainly not a power outage that would put a damper on plans – after all, there’s not a storm in sight, and the Gray’s Harbor PUD says more than three-quarters of its outages are the result of naturally occurring incidents, such as high winds, lightning, downed trees, and other storm-related causes.

A seagull, though, had other ideas, and apparently got into a power line, causing a mid-day outage.  It’s a small district, and fewer than 100 customers were impacted, but it serves as a reminder that outages can happen even in the most optimal conditions... and it certainly doesn’t help endear seagulls to vacationers.  Because power was restored in about an hour, it’s likely that many weren’t even aware of the outage, but even those that were, were able to quickly resume normal activities.

Though the area is not a heavy business district, random outages like this should serve as warnings for all businesses, regardless of their location.  While incidents like this one are relatively short-lived and impact few customers, they carry with them no less potential for damage to business equipment that is directly connected to power sources. 

The issue goes far beyond the immediate loss of power and disruption to business – though good UPS systems will allow business to remain operational for a period.  The much more damaging concerns are equipment loss due to surges, which can occur when the outage hits, but also as power is restored.  Unprotected technology can easily suffer catastrophic damages in either instance.

Further, in a digital world, data is critical, whether that is customer data or documents created through normal workflows, or any other sources of business information.  Without a UPS system in place, businesses risk losing valuable data that hasn’t been saved, as well from having storage devices damaged.  Either way, the damage can be irreversible and costly.

Lastly, in any of these cases, IT staff will be required to spend countless hours identifying damage and replacing equipment, then restoring services and applications to their normal status.  In addition to the capital expense, this also keeps IT and other personnel from performing other tasks.

Ensuring such damages – and resultant downtime – don’t occur can be as simple as a properly sized and installed power protection system.  It’s an expense, but, it’s one that can save frustration, unnecessary expense, and lost revenue opportunities that far exceed its cost.

Edited by Alicia Young

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