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When Lightning Strikes: Protecting Your Computer from a Thunderstorm

Aug 10th, 2016 | Posted by | Filed under Indianapolis IT support

In July 2014, a thunderstorm hit Indiana that caused a power outage effecting thousands – both individuals and businesses. A smaller but still significant outage happened just this year in Boone County. Summer is still in full-swing, and the risk of more thunderstorms is present. This means it is a good time to take a look at what a power outage can do to your company’s technology and how to prepare for it.

 

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Power Outage Dangers

  • Unexpected computer shutdown:Ideally you only want your computer to shut it down when you have told it to do so. This is because there are sequences your computer goes through to safely shut down programs when you’re turning it off. If this does not happen – files that were not finished writing to the disk can become corrupted.
  • Power Surges: Lightning strikes can strike at over several million volts. No device without protection can handle that amount of power. If there’s a power surge, it will hit your computer’s power first. This means a good possibility that your computer will not reboot until the power supply has been replaced. Sometimes, a power surge can do even more damage, reaching the video card or even the motherboard, leading to expensive repairs or possibly replacing the device.

How to Prepare

If you have advance notice of the storm, here are some precautions you can take.

  • Unplug your computer: Turning OFF your computer is not going to be enough. The only way to be 100% safe from a power surge is making sure there is no power to experience the surge. This might be frustrating, but is still the safest option. You are going to want to do the same with your routers, servers, and other electronic equipment.
  • Back-up your data: Ensure all your work is backed up on either your cloud or an external hard drive. If you have to work from home because of a storm, the data will be with you, and there’s no chance in losing it if a power surge happens.
  • Invest in an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS): A UPS has a built in battery that can help sustain your computer in the event of sudden power loss. You can also program the UPS to safely shut down your PC after a certain amount of time. A UPS is safer than surge protector – which usually stops working the first or second outage and will not protect you from a lightning strike.

UPS
 

 

How to Recover

Storms can be unexpected, and precautions can fail. If you find that your company does not have a plan for your server or technology in a storm, you are going to want to turn to a managed service provider. Here at L5 Solutions, we can put systems in place to protect your technology, or if need be, successfully restore backups and re-install operating systems.

Our client Patricia says “Prior to doing business with L5 I always worried about weather and what that would mean for our business’s connectivity (servers, computers, etc.), but I have to say, that since having L5 Solutions provide their IT services to our business has provided such piece of mind.”

Don’t let a thunderstorm be the reason you lose company data or have to buy a new device. Keep an eye on approaching storms, and put systems in place to protect your technology. It only takes a few minutes, and could save you hours or even days of headaches.

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