Summer Safety Tip – Surge Protectors

One very important element in the protection of your computer systems which is almost always overlooked is proper ‘Surge Protection’.

In the last week we’ve been conducting ‘Network Risk Assessments’ for a number of businesses and all of them have failed our check for ample ‘Surge Protection’. It seems like such a simple and obvious ‘need’, yet no one does it properly!

I was recently in Domayne and noticed they had a media clipping displayed throughout the store highlighting the need for surge protectors. You can read the clipping by clicking here.

Electrical equipment does not like uneven power. Power drops can cause modems, routers and switches to behave erratically and power surges can outright destroy them.

Most businesses know their servers, switches and routers need a UPS (battery backup) device. This device ensures that your servers don’t just turn off in the event of a power failure. They also help stabilise power levels so the devices get nice clean, consistent power.

Although a UPS does offer a level of surge protection, it is not and should not be used as a surge protector. In most businesses we’ve inspected in the past week, the UPS was the surge protector!

Here’s why you should have a separate surge protector.

If your UPS is the surge protector and it gets a power surge, it could damage the UPS completely, or at the very least cause the UPS fail safes to trip and switch off.

At this point the equipment attached to your UPS turns off.

Here’s what would happen if you had a surge protector before your UPS.

The surge protector would blow and as a result your UPS would go onto battery power.

The equipment attached to the UPS would continue to operate, giving you ample time to take action.

I’m a big fan of the Belkin power boards and surge protectors, although there are plenty of other good products out there. The Belkin equipment in particular offers a financial guarantee on their equipment, should your equipment be damaged whilst connected to them, and you can pick them up from about $30.

A $2.50 power board from Bunnings is not going to protect anything, yet I see this type of board everywhere. Don’t do it! You’re asking something that costs less than a cup of coffee to protect thousands of dollars worth of equipment!

Go through your office and identify anything you care about and wouldn’t want to have to replace. Put a surge protector on it, or at least a power board with proper surge protection.

Whilst you’re at it, get telephone line surge protection filters for your fax machine, modem or anything else plugged into the line. Get TV antenna surge protectection – lighting does strike and can damage your TV or whatever is connected to it. Heck I’ve seen power hit an underground Foxtel cable and damage a Foxtel box!

If you need assistance, give us a call – we’d love to help! 

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