The Computer Room in Your Closet: How Risks of Power Loss Can Impact Business Operations
As business owners are planning their business or making changes to their current business, they’ll do well to make sure they plan for blackouts and brownouts. Not only that, but it’s also a good idea for business owners to plan for both long-term and short-term brownout and blackouts in the event that they are without power for longer than expected. It’s not unheard of for blackouts to last several days or even several weeks. Here at Titan Power, we want you to be fully aware of just how much you and your business stand to lose during a power outage.
Lack of Incentive
One of the main reasons that businesses will want to make sure they come up with a thorough and well-thought out plan for a blackout is that there is currently little incentive to put money into a steadily aging grid infrastructure. Not only that, but energy from unpredictable renewable energy sources doesn’t seamlessly fit together with 50 or 60-year-old electricity grids.
More and more electricity grids are starting to become connected, which means that should a blackout occur in one region there’s a very strong chance that it will cascade outwards to other grids and lead to a supra-regional blackout. Other threats to electrical grids include terrorist attacks, solar flares, and cyber attacks. Business leaders might not think that a short blackout can have a large impact on their business, but research has revealed that a blackout that lasts a half hour can result on a financial loss of roughly $15,700 on average for medium and large industrial clients. Should the blackout last eight hours, it could very easily result in nearly $94,000 in losses. Blackouts can be devastating no matter how long or how short they last.
There are certain misconceptions that an IT staff and senior executives may have that can add to expensive downtime. For that exact reason, one of the very first things that business owners should fully comprehend is the current state of their systems availability.
Businesses owners should ask themselves how many blackouts or downtime events they’ve experienced in the past two years, the average time these events happened, if their equipment was the cause of the failure, and what steps they can take to increase their availability.
In order to truly boost their availability, businesses have to invest in advanced and reputable infrastructure technologies. One thing to keep in mind with this advice is that keeping up with the most advanced infrastructure technology can be more than a little difficult. Also, making sure there is an in-house staff that has the proper facility management, operational, and security proficiency can be more than a little difficult since such services are often expensive and hard to come by.
The Frequency of Power Outages
Business owners may not be able to control when blackouts and brownouts happen, but they can control how they react to these power outages. One of the reasons it’s so vital for them to determine how big of an impact downtime events will have is so that they can determine whether or not they have the proper equipment and controls in place to help them “staunch the bleeding.”
The most prevalent blackouts and brownouts seem to take place in economies that are just starting to emerge and haven’t properly invested in their energy infrastructure. Downtime is also common in areas with natural hazards and inclement weather conditions.
In some countries, consumers are being asked to use less electricity in response to the immediate failings of national electrical grids. After several blackouts during a 2011 heat wave, the government of South Korea revealed a contingency plan that would take some of the pressure off of the national grid, which called for a ten percent cut in demand for major manufacturers and limits on temperatures for neon signs and commercial buildings.
The Detrimental Effects of Power Outages
There are several ways that a power outage can negatively impact a business, including:
- Phones – A majority of business are essentially unable to do anything without the use of their phones. Not only are they unable to communicate with customers and clients, they may not be able to communicate with each other inside of the business
- Internet – While a valuable tool, the internet is also a huge vulnerability. Without it, businesses won’t be able to send or respond to email, process orders, or access accounting systems. If order processing is out, customers might potentially take their business and money elsewhere while leaving their frustrations with the company
- Essential Applications – Technology has changed the way that we do business, and without the applications created by that technology business might not be able to operate at all
- Data Corruption or Loss – Should a blackout occur, it’s entirely possible for a business to lose valuable data, such as financial records, their customer database, and potential sales leads. Even when power is restored business can still be taking a hit for several days or even weeks afterward
- Legal Consequences – The ripples created by a blackout or brownout can be legal as well as financial. Legal regulatory fines can significantly increase how much a business ultimately has to pay for a power outage. Should word of these legal consequences become known to the public, there’s a very good chance that customers will take their business elsewhere.
Business owners may be tempted to put off planning for a power outage. Either that, or they might decide to devote the money and resources required for proper preparation elsewhere. The best time to plan for an emergency is well before one happens. Doing so can potentially save a business, its reputation, and keep customers happy even through hard times. For more information about how to plan and prepare your business for power outages, get in touch with the data base experts here at Titan Power.