Maximizing Surge Protection Safety

13Data centers have become an indispensible part of our daily lives, housing and processing the information that keeps businesses, consumers, friends, and family connected around the world. Downtime comes from a wide variety of sources, but one of the most common is a power surge—a voltage increase within an electronic circuit that spikes power to dangerous levels. Power surges can happen at any time, and in any data center. When it does happen you want to know that your critical infrastructure and systems are safe with the right surge protection in place.


The Source of Power Surges


A power surge can come from a wide variety of sources. In a data center, they can happen for one of many reasons on any given day, including:


  • Changes in external power supplies such as phone lines, cables, and power cords outside your building
  • Lightning strikes, either directly to the building or indirectly to nearby areas
  • Internal surges that come from equipment inside your data center, such as motors, electrical equipment, HVAC systems, or generators
  • Poor utility wiring, grid shifting, and power lines that are down at the local power plant


No matter what the source of the power surge, without adequate protection the end result is often costly downtime or even system failure and data loss. That’s why it is important to have the right surge protection measures in place.


Conduct a “Risk Audit”


The first step to developing a surge protection plan is to identify the risks that your commercial data center faces. Examine the reliability of your existing power supply, activities conducted by your power company, and frequency of lightning strikes, plus internal and external factors that could contribute to power surges. Make a list of all the potential risks so you can adequately plan for them and minimize the impact.


Implement a Protective System


The best way to protect against a power surge is with electrical surge protection. At home you plug your appliances into a portable surge protector, but to offer the right level of protection for massive data centers and account for the sensitivity of your equipment, you need a state-of-the-art system.


  1. Separate the wiring and circuits that supply power to your data center and those that supply power to other equipment or systems that could cause surges.
  2. Apply an additional layer of surge protection to the area that powers your data center equipment.
  3. Design and build an electrical system that is properly grounded, separating the communication cables from power cables.
  4. Create another layer of protection and power continuity with and uninterrupted power supply (UPS) system.
  5. Install surge suppression devices that can monitor power system and divert voltages that are above a safe threshold.


Don’t Risk Your Data

All of your critical data and sensitive electronic equipment can be lost in a matter of milliseconds if you leave them unprotected from the common, but dangerous, effects of power surges. Don’t risk harm to your data or your business—guard them with the proper surge protection today.

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