SHANNON Overs, co-founder of onPlatinum ICT, sees it too often, perhaps half a dozen times per year businesses that do not have adequate protection from extreme weather events.
The lightning storms and heat of summer, and once-in-a-100-year disasters such as the Brisbane Floods of January 2011, can disrupt communications and destroy essential data and expensive hardware.
"There is the loss of data and hardware, and there is staff downtime and the loss of reputation," says Overs.
Data from the United States shows that 49 per cent of businesses report data loss every two years, and the same percentage failed to back up their data on a daily basis.
There are several essential ways for business owners to protect themselves, as Overs explains.
Use a uninterruptible power supply
An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is essentially a battery that sits between the hardware and the power supply, protecting equipment vulnerable to a power surge through power or phone lines.
"When there is a surge, the UPS takes care of that overload," explains Overs. "They can be as cheap as a couple of hundred dollars to protect data that you can't really put a price on."
onPlatinum ICT always recommends its clients use a UPS, even if they don't request it.
"We probably get around half a dozen cases of power surge issues each year, and we generally find that some of them have a UPS, but it has stopped working, or has been unplugged and they were caught out as a result," says Overs.
Protect your server from the heat
As Overs explains, "A computer's worst enemy is heat".
"It is essential to have adequate cooling, and in larger environments have a dedicated air conditioner, because the overheating can damage your hard drives and in addition, cause a fire," he says.
Many small businesses will turn off the air-conditioning over the weekend and the office becomes a heat box while the server continues to run with the cooling fans working harder to compensate.
Even at temperatures in the early 30s, computers are at risk.
"It is essential to keep your server cool. Any business that doesn't have cooling for their server is at risk, especially in this sort of weather."
Back up your data offsite
onPlatinum ICT subscribes to the 3-2-1 Method of data protection, which stipulates that there are three copies of all data, two of which are local, in two types of mediums such as a external hard drive and a Network Attached Storage (NAS) Device and another that is offsite.
"If your backup is connected to the server and there is a power surge, it could potentially affect the backup as well, that is why it is also good to have an offsite backup," says Overs.
"An offsite backup could be cloud-based secure storage, or taking a hard drive away from the office, at the least. While that is obviously not as reliable as cloud-based backup, when you use offsite backup, something is better than nothing."
Even when a business is using the cloud, it is important to ensure the provider has a secure location for the servers.
onPlatinum ICT has two data centres in different geographic locations, both situated above the flood line.
Insurance will provide compensation in case of disaster, but as Overs says, most policies require protection for the server.
"Generally, insurance policies require adequate protection for your server not only power protection, but also how your data is backed up."
Today, data and the hardware that accesses it are crucial for all businesses and it is essential that they are protected.
Our partner onPlatinum ICT can ensure your computer systems will stand up to the elements and are offering our readers a free IT audit.
Find out more here.
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