The Computer Disaster Recovery Plan – Part 3

It’s inevitable. Eventually your computer will die. There are 5 Big Computer Disasters that will kill your computer. So let’s discuss how we can minimize this with a Computer Disaster Recovery Plan. Third disaster:

Lightning / Electricity

If you live in Texas, then you know about the lightning. Lightning strikes will destroy electronics. And that sad part is, you’ll only wish you could harness that lightning to go back in time and stop it from happening. But how would you get back to the future?

All joking aside, let’s talk about the preventative measures we can take to minimize and reduce damage that lightning and electricity will cause on your computer and electronics. On all electronics there are warning labels indicating how much electricity each item needs to function and a range where it will function properly in. Too much and everything is fried, too low and you can be damaging it just as badly.

At Dallas Computer Consulting we believe that the $3 power strip is just not appropriate. If you are proud of your 42” LED Television or even your trusty old laptop (that one that everyone says is out of date), why would you connect a power strip to it? A good surge protector lists a range of cost that they will guarantee as well as a number of years – it’s the money where mouth is thing. Now, they will try and argue and claim it’s out of warranty – lawyers.

But let’s get back to the basics, for the most part, this is reputation, they’re putting their name out there and wanting to prove their product will protect your system. So there’s a better chance they might care about what happens, and might want to get you a product that saves your system instead of frying it.

In one Texas summer, with lightning strikes hitting, in a weekend, Dallas Computer Consulting replaced 6 computers on a single day, because of the cheap power supplies. So consider the math: Do you feel $1000-$500 worth of computer is worth investing a little more than $3 in?

So let’s build on that Computer Disaster Recovery Plan. 

This part of the plan unfortunately won’t involve your insurance agent. It’ll involve some simple ideas.

1) Surge Protectors

When getting a surge protector, you want to look at three things: clamping voltage – how much voltage it takes before it redirects the voltage, they come in three ranges, with the lowest rating the best 300V, 400V, and 500V; Response Time – How quickly the clamping voltage kicks in, you should never get one that is over 1 nanosecond; Energy Absorption/Dissipation – this rating (in joules) tells you how much the surge protector can absorb before it fails, the higher the better – 200 joules to 400 joules is about what you would need on average, the next level up is 600 joules.

2) Uninterrupted Power Supplies – UPS

If you really want to make a good effort though, Uninterrupted Power Supplies are key. These come in a variety of sizes and the small ones, will give you a decent amount of time to shut a system down. What does a UPS do? It’s a Surge Protector and Battery Back up, in one. Small ones offer (what their box lists) about 15 minutes of battery life. This is based on a standard desktop computer and flat screen monitor. It will most likely be less (considerably if your system runs at full load all the time), but when the power goes out and your computer stays on long enough for you to save that critical document and shut down – that’s a life saver.

Dallas Computer Consulting also recommends one for your other electronics – TV / DVD / etc. And one specifically for the router. With the recent ice storm that hit Dallas, the idea that during one of the power outages the internet could have been on for about an hour (very low power usage), it changes how you could have done business.

3) Unplug devices during bad weather

Relying on Technology is fine, if it’s current. A bad habit observed by Dallas Computer Consulting is the age of the surge protectors and UPS systems. In Dallas, a lightning strike can fry a Surge Protector, or it can burn out the surge protection aspect. Usually there is an indicator light on the Surge Protector to declare if it is still capable of protecting your electronics. UPS systems (some, unfortunately not all) come with software and diagnostics built into the device to determine battery capability, surge protection and general status of the UPS.

Dallas Computer Consulting strongly urges their clients to invest in UPS systems if possible, as the additional benefits from a UPS usually out weight the cost difference.

4) Unplug external hard drives

Dallas Computer Consulting recommends that the type of external hard drive match the need – i.e., if you have a laptop a travel sized external hard drive is probably a better fit than a desktop sized one. But remember to unplug them from your computer when they’re done. Better to have the data protected from a surge or spike than to get fried just because it happened to be plugged into the computer.

And of course, the most important aspect of the Computer Disaster Recovery Plan is a back up solution. Both offline in the form of an external hard drive, and offsite in the form of an online back up solution like Carbonite

Ready to build your Disaster Recovery Plan?

Contact us at (214) 226-6288 or email us at

Check out the next disaster in Part 4

Posted in 5Ways, Back Up, Carbonite, Disaster, Lightning