A surprise attack by pirates on the high seas was something to be dreaded by sailors and similarly for businesses a power surge can cause severe damage when least expected. Power surges are caused by a sudden increase in the electrical supply current or voltage. A lightning strike can fire 100,000 volts through your building, while a typical power surge can deliver 500-1,000 volts – higher than most equipment is designed to handle. At the other end of the scale, a damaging surge can also be caused by a cleaner plugging a vacuum cleaner into the same extension used by a computer or staff plugging in a kettle for a quick cuppa.
The risk to your business is that a surge can damage or destroy any piece of equipment connected to the mains, from PCs and phones to fridges and heaters. Without surge protection, you could lose data if your IT systems are damaged, your security system could stop working and your business could be totally disrupted if key processes are put out of action.
As well as damage to equipment, your business could be damaged too, but it can be difficult to get electricity suppliers to admit any liability for surges. Physical surge protection for equipment and suitable hardware breakdown cover will protect you against most power surge risks.
At the most basic level for a home office or similar small premises, surge protectors incorporated into multi-socket extension cables provide minimal protection, but make sure you buy surge protectors with a Connected Equipment Warranty (CEW), which will cover specified damage to connected equipment. Always check the warranty details.
More advanced precautions for your premises include protection built in at every level. This can range from a lightning conductor on top of the building to diffuse surges into the ground away from your premises, protection built into your main electricity control panel at the point where the supply enters your premises and surge protection on individual sockets into which you plug equipment.
You may also want to install an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), which provides near-instantaneous protection against surges, variations or interruptions to your supply. This can ensure critical equipment continues to operate in the event of a power failure or other incident.
And don’t forget to make sure that staff understand why they must not plug any powerful appliances – vacuum cleaners, kettles and toasters – into electrical circuits used by any computer equipment.
If you’re concerned at the level of protection your business needs, FX7 Solutions’ experts will be happy to talk through the options so that you are never held to ransom by power surges, as sailors open to attack by pirates were on the open sea.