Avoid Lightning Damage
It’s that time of year again and you can bet that lightning will happen. Are you prepared? Follow these 5 simple steps to make sure your data and hardware are protected from lightning strikes this spring.
1.) Backup – As always, it is important to have backup copies of your critical data. Even with the best surge protection systems, lightning is so powerful, and so unpredictable, we have seen them fail. One of our customers described visible light that traveled through their office space and fried several monitors, while leaving the computers unharmed. Crazy right? Yes that is very uncommon, but a good example of why having on-site and off-site backups are important for all of your critical data.
2.) Surge protect everything! – Never plug any network connected hardware directly into an AC outlet. Even if you have your servers on battery backups, those servers are connected to every other computer and printer in the building via copper wire that conducts electricity. It only takes one printer or computer without the proper surge protection to allow a lightning surge to fry every computer on the network, including your servers.
3.) Use UPS systems – Always use UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) on computers. Even if there is not a surge, but the power goes out, you could lose access to everything on your hard drive if the data is corrupted by an unexpected shutdown. A good UPS system connected to your computer via USB cable, will communicate with your computer if the power does go out, and tell it to shut down properly if its battery starts running low. Generally these devices have better surge protection features as well compared to your standard 6 way surge strips.
4.) Protect Your Network Hardware – Many people overlook their network hardware. Unfortunately this could arguably be some of the most important equipment to protect since there are little copper wires (network cables) running from those devices to the motherboards of every computer and printer on the network.
5.) Internet Lines – So many times I’ve seen very good surge protection systems in place, only to discover that the main Internet line is not properly surge protected. For the same reason as number 4, and the fact that these lines run outside the building and ultimately run along multiple lightning rods (I mean utility poles) – this step is extremely important. Look for a UPS system that has coax in and out (if you have cable Internet) and Ethernet in and out (if you have DSL) and make sure that incoming line is surge protected before it connects to your internal equipment.