Businesses Can't Prevent Power Outages but They Can Protect Technology from Costly Damage

April 22, 2019

By Erik Linask - Group Editorial Director

A raccoon found its way into an electrical substation in Boyle County, Kentucky, at about 2:35am Easter Sunday, causing a power outage that impacted thousands of utility customers.  Fortunately, Kentucky Utility was able to repair the damage and restore power within about and hour, ensuring families and any businesses would not be impacted during the day.

Fortunately, thanks to the timing and quick response, the impact on businesses and residents was minimal  But, every outage, regardless of duration, scale, or time of occurrence, should serve as a reminder for businesses that they should have appropriate business continuity plans in place.  
Aside from the obvious immediate downtime while power is out, loss of power can have a number of consequences for businesses that haven’t taken steps to protect themselves.  They include extended downtime, loss of revenue, equipment failure, and data loss, among others.
One strategy an increasing number of businesses are adopting is moving many of their applications and resources to the cloud.  In addition to enabling access to data and services from any location with Internet connectivity – allowing businesses to remain operational when the office loses power – the cloud model makes it easy to backup and restore data, in the event a major catastrophe happens.  But, the ability for workers to perform their functions remotely – from home, remote offices, hotels, or effectively anywhere else – ensures that power outages won’t have a significant impact on productivity.
The other critical part is protecting business infrastructure.  Any equipment – including servers, switches, security appliances, storage devices, and other technology that businesses rely on – are full of fragile circuits that can be damaged by power surges and unclean power (power that fluctuates or is not at the proper voltage or frequency).  If these systems are damaged, businesses may not be able to operate for an extended period – until the damage is assessed, repair parts or replacement equipment located, and the job has been completed, including installation and configuration of software and services that may have been impacted. 
Part of any business continuity strategy should be the installation of a properly sized power protection solution.  These systems are specifically designed to protect network equipment and other technology from abnormal electrical activity but regulating line voltage and ensuring surges and dirty power do not get through equipment.  It’s effectively a firewall for power. 
In addition, UPS elements of power protection systems allow IT staff to properly shut down any critical equipment during an outage to eliminate risk of lost or corrupted software and data.  
There’s nothing companies can do to prevent power outages, but they can take steps to protect the investments that are the lifeline of their operations.  Just as today, most businesses should have cybersecurity at the top of their list of priorities, protecting equipment against electrical damage should be as well.

Edited by Erik Linask