So, it looks like we’ll be getting thunderstorms again soon. What can you do to keep your computer safe?
If your computer and router don’t need to be on, then powering it off properly and unplugging it during a thunderstorm will provide the best possible protection from lightning-induced power surges.
If you have a laptop, then running it on battery power (and unplugged) is recommended during thunderstorms.
If you need your computer and router to be on, but are willing to accept interruption of service, then a middle option is a surge protector. Like a household fuse box, this cuts the power if a surge occurs, protecting the computer or router from damage.
We recommend always purchasing and using gang sockets with built in surge protection for computers and associated devices; they are only slightly more expensive than going without and a lot cheaper than a new computer.
If you have a business-critical router or server computer that needs to be kept active at all times, consider investing in a UPS (uninterruptible power supply). This unit is the infrastructure equivalent of both a surge protector and a laptop’s battery bank. It keeps power flowing to the connected units for long enough for mains power to be restored, for a switch to battery or generator power to occur, or for the computer to be shut down through the proper procedure rather than crashing from a sudden power loss.
UPS units cost between £60 and £200 each, depending on the wattage that they can keep active during a power cut. It is important to test and know how long your UPS can remain active and to shut non-essential computers down as soon as possible to reduce the load.
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