Monsoon season in Arizona. The heavy rains, spectacular lightning storms, and ominous walls of dust bearing down on the city make for incredible pictures but cost the Valley heavily. It’s usually not direct damage; the water rarely gets inside our buildings and the dust stays outside for the most part. Usually, buildings are well grounded and even a direct lightning strike causes minimal damage. Yes, if the roof gives way the desktop is not going to fair well, but thankfully that is much rarer.
Unfortunately the indirect effects are what kill computers on a fairly regular basis during monsoon season. The power fluctuations (spikes; brown outs; black outs; and rapid bounces of power) are the real enemies of electronics and the data they store.
So how can you protect yourself?
- Surge protectors: Not the $2.99 power strips but the $20 super suppressor strips. These will always come with a guarantee of $10,000 to $50,000. While these protect your equipment from surges, they don’t do much for brownouts, black outs or bouncing power but they are a step in the right direction. If your computer doesn’t have one, get one immediately.
- Line interactive UPS: A line interactive battery backup (universal power supply) is the best defense. These UPSs take the alternating current (AC) power from the outlet and convert it to direct current (DC) before cleaning the power up. If the power is low (brown out) or off (blackout), it will supplement the power or if the power is high (spike or surge), they bleed off the excess power and store it in the battery. Finally the UPS reconverts the power to AC and delivers a clean, steady stream of electricity to your devices. Warning: make sure you purchase a unit the correct size for the amount of equipment you are going to power through it.
- Data Backups: It will eventually happen. Sadly even the best protection can fail and you will ultimately lose your precious data so make sure you back it up. For home users and small businesses a cloud backup is the best choice. Any other method (flash drives, external hard drives etc.) are going to be at risk from a power event while they are connected. We suggest Carbonite or Mozy as easy to use, inexpensive methods of cloud backup.
As always you can call either of our locations and one of our technicians can suggest the proper solution for you and/or your business; however we’d rather you be safe than soggy so implement these simple solutions ahead of time to keep you safe during the storm.