CAN YOU SURVIVE A POWER OUTAGE?
By now, everyone has heard about the Delta fiasco. Thousands of passengers were delayed when Delta Airlines canceled some 427 flights due to a system outage resulting from loss of power.
How, in this day and age, at a company as big as Delta, with multiple remote data centers, and global operations, can a single outage bring the company to a grinding halt?
Obviously it could have been avoided if Delta had a business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plan. Common sense and risk management requirements tell you they probably did.
So what failed? Was it ever tested? Was it human error? Did the invoice for backup power equipment sit on some bean counters desk thinking he was saving the company a few thousand?
Time will tell. Whether we ever get the true story remains to be seen. But now is a good time to assess whether your business is protected enough to survive a power outage. Obviously, the level of protection you need, depends on the needs of your business. It might be a good time to reevaluate your tolerance for downtime associated with power outages, and if needed, invest in some preventative tools accordingly.
Consider using cloud-based email and other shared applications so users can easily work from home or remote locations while your business is without power. Cloud-based file sync and share (FSS) services can give users access to files they need from anywhere, on any device. Have a company call chain with available cell numbers for smartphones.
Remember, electronic equipment is inoperable without power and power outages can cause some serious damage to a business’s IT systems. If the IT equipment goes bad, it can significantly increase downtime after power is restored. Electronic devices, including desktops computers, servers, printers, etc., require a steady electrical current. When that current becomes irregular, permanent damage to system components can occur.
For small and medium businesses, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is a must. It’s a device that ensures computer systems can stay on temporarily in the moments following a power outage, so they can be shut down properly to avoid losing data in RAM. They also provide surge protection, to ensure that electrical current irregularities do not damage computer components.
For larger businesses, a generator may make sense. Not every business requires dedicated generator power. Many businesses can tolerate the downtime associated with a short-term power outage and many office buildings have standby generators that companies can rely on. However, if your business has specific requirements that necessitate a generator, such as a restaurant that relies on refrigerators for perishable goods, or say an airline that flies around the world, then maybe a generator does make some sense.
With proper planning, you can minimize the impact a power outage will have on your business and your customers.