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Be prepared for power failures with these tips

by Dirk and MarjanDid you know...22/12/2016

Be prepared for power failures with these tips
It’s quite difficult to keep your business going during a power failure. But just how far-reaching are the effects on your computers, phones and internet access? And how do you keep your data safe? These tips will make sure you’re better prepared for the next blackout.

  1. Make back-ups

    We can’t put enough emphasis on the need for a good back-up strategy. A hard disk that is cut off from power or a computer that hasn’t had the chance to shut down correctly can lead to a loss of data. 
    You can keep your back-ups safe in your business or at another physical location, but of course you can also use the easier solution: back-ups in the cloud. Like OneDrive for Business, for instance. Most of the back-up software has autosave functionalities that let you save your work and data at set times or intervals.

  2. Consider getting a back-up battery

    Back-up batteries guard against power spikes or outages and provide temporary power to your computers. In case of a blackout, they will immediately take over the power supply so you can keep on working for a limited time. Time enough, in any case, to save your data and to shut down your computers correctly.
    These UPS systems (for Uninterruptible Power Supply) come in all types, sizes and price ranges. Smaller UPS systems can protect one PC, while others can provide whole data centers with electricity for days. 

  3. Can I still use my smartphone?

    Proximus’ gsm antennas have a built-in spare battery that can keep the antenna going for at least two hours in case of a blackout. To save on battery use, only calls and text messages are possible in these events. So no data traffic. Need to contact other people? Then it’s best to send text messages as well. They use up a lot less battery than a phone call. Or simply call on your fixed phone, because they’ll continue to work (unless your handset needs external power to function). 

  4. What if the blackout is planned?

    Have you been notified upfront about an upcoming blackout? Then make sure you switch off all of your electrical equipment – routers, modems, printers,… -  in advance. That way you run less of a risk of damaging them when your business goes off the grid. And make sure to pull the plugs from the sockets as well. Once the power comes back, you can turn everything back on, starting with your modem/router. 

  5. Make sure you have a contingency plan

    Even if blackouts occur very rarely, it’s a good idea to take note of what you need to keep in mind when they do happen. Because once a blackout hits you, there is often little time to consider the options and consequences. That doesn’t mean you need a state-of-the-art business continuity plan. Just consider, upfront, what you need to take care of in case of a power failure. That could save a lot of time, worry and money later on.

But I’ve got solar panels, you say? Well…

So you’ve put up solar panels? Great, but they’re unlikely to do you much good in the event of a blackout. Belgian solar installations are, for the most part, linked directly to the power grid to make sure any overcapacity is used elsewhere. But that also means you won’t have power if the grid goes down. It is possible, of course, to use a closed loop and only use the panels for your own supply, but then you’re not entitled to subsidies or green power certificates.

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