Lightning strikes the earth on average 44 times per second, making a total of about 1.4 billion flashes per year. Most people are not aware how to protect their businesses from a direct strike, or a surge of electricity.
While direct lightning strikes happen rarely in the Indian Ocean Region , surges due to indirect lightning, power grid fluctuations or wiring anomalies are quite common and can cause serious damages including loss of lives. As you cannot unplug your business equipment and hide when the sky rumbles, a resilient strategy must be put in place to keep your business functioning in any weather condition.
Here are some necessary steps and precautions you should be taking to prevent damages from lightning strikes:
Protect your hardware.
- Lightning and grounding rods disperse direct and indirect strikes
The best protection from lightning damages is also the oldest: lightning and grounding rods. Lightning rods work to safely direct lightning around or through a building without allowing the excess voltage to damage the electronics inside. Modern systems also reduce side-flashes.
For older buildings fitted with different wiring generations, hiring an electrician to evaluate grounding is well worth the time and money you will spend. With better grounding, lightning travels down the grounding wire rather than damaging your equipment.
- Surge arresters and surge protectors block excess voltage
While surge arresters are for large-scale protection (medium to high voltage), surge protectors are for small-scale protection (low voltage). A surge arrester protects devices inside your building from voltage spikes and, coupled with a modern breaker box and surge protectors for every outlet, they go a long way to help protect your important equipment.
- Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) keep devices safer
It is best to keep important equipment separated from the wall outlet by a UPS device. A UPS provides a battery backup in the event of a power outage; some UPS models filter all electricity which passes through them by only powering your device with electricity from their contained battery. This provides time for a safe, data-saving shutdown of important work, as well as protection from a power surge.
- Fiber optics can reduce power surges
Fiber optics use glass, an electrical insulator. Copper cables connecting buildings together work like antennas which pick up energy from lightning. Because of copper wiring, a lightning strike affecting one building can create a difference in voltage between another connected building, causing serious damages.
Customers using fiber have experienced less lightning-related issues than those who don’t. Fiber has the safest and best performances when it comes to connecting buildings.
Protect your software and data.
- Keep your data safe and available
To protect your data you need to have it duplicated offsite with a backup. Traditionally, this is done using tapes and carrying these tapes daily to another building; a rather tedious and archaic process.
Large amounts of data demand more efficient backup methodologies and higher bandwidth between sites. This is why many companies are turning to online replication strategies and private cloud backup solutions.
BIRGER. offers virtualisation and online replication solutions as well as private cloud backup solutions such as Veeam which are reliable, flexible and simple to use.
- Deploy private cloud strategies
A lightning strike can cause simultaneous failures and destroy data on your computers. Unfortunately, if there is smoke wafting out of your computer, data protection strategies like RAID or disk mirroring do very little.
This is when many businesses turn to cloud-based email, file storage and hosted telephony systems which can be outsourced. Done with a trusted resiliency partner like BIRGER., you have peace of mind knowing that your software maintenance, security risks, and financial risks have been taken care of.
- Mitigate concentration risks
All equipment and resources should not be concentrated in one site to avoid the loss or unavailability of everything if your site is impacted. The mitigation of site concentration risks is possible using a multi-cells site management approach as depicted on the right.
- Effective DRP and BCP get your Business back on track
Every Business should have sound and tested DR/BC plans in place, especially those relying on electronics like computers, point of sale devices and telephony systems. Good plans include steps for containing the effects of a disaster, as well as minimising downtime. Insurance may cover the cost of damaged devices, but without well-regimented DR/BC plans, long periods of downtime can kill your business. Fortunately, taking advantage of precautions can help keep downtime to a minimum, and make it easier for your business to avoid disaster and bounce back from one.
When it comes to lightning strikes, it is not a matter of if, but when. Grounding, surge protection and preparation for safekeeping your equipment and data is primordial to the continuity of your business. One size does not fit all.
With more than 12 years of experience in Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Management, BIRGER. is your complete Business Continuity and Resiliency solutions partner. We help protect your business and data with cloud computing and solutions adapted to your organisation.