At Secure Data Recovery Services, we often receive a high number of cases during the first few months of the summer. Our engineers have noted a significant rise in weather-related media damage from April to July, and many of these cases come from businesses with inadequate media controls.
We operate more than two dozen offices across the United States, and this seasonal increase is not a locale-specific problem. All computers are susceptible to weather-related damage, and businesses should look for ways to protect important systems.
Common sources of data loss in the summer months include:
Electrical Events - Summer weather fluctuations lead to an increased number of power surges, blackouts and brownouts, especially during thunderstorms. On an unprotected computer, unexpected electrical events can cause severe component issues by sending too much power through your system, overriding the safeguards that normally protect electronics from damage.
Your hard drive is especially sensitive to these types of electrical fluctuations. Hard drive read/write heads float on a tiny cushion of air over the data storage platters, and sudden power variations can send the heads off line. In severe cases, this causes damage to the storage platters, causing permanent damage. Head issues are often accompanied by clicking sounds or other unusual noises.
Fortunately, most businesses have high-quality electrical systems, which helps to decrease the incidence of electrical failures. You should still keep your computers on a surge protector for added protection. Shut down electronic devices during storms and monitor the power sources of mission-critical systems. If you need to build a new office computer, choose a high-quality power supply unit to protect your hardware.
Overheating - High heat can melt solder on printed circuit boards, preventing your devices from working correctly. A computer's operating environment certainly plays a role in its ability to regulate heat, and many systems begin to fail as room temperatures creep into the 80s and 90s.
Keep your computers in an environment with an average temperature of around 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Give your systems some space to expel hot air. Never put a personal computer up against a wall or on thick carpeting, as this allows heat to build up to dangerous levels.
Pay attention to web servers and other large storage devices. Many systems have built-in heat monitoring tools that can help you avoid a media failure. Keep all computer systems in wellregulated rooms with plenty of airflow.
High Humidity - Extreme humidity can quickly damage electronics. Condensation causes corrosion and causes short circuits. Fortunately, humidity is fairly easy to control, and you can avoid excessive humidity buildup with a quick trip to your hardware store.
However, be sure to remember that low humidity can be just as dangerous as high humidity-dry air allows static electricity to build up, increasing the chances of dangerous electrostatic discharge. Most manufacturers recommend a relative humidity of 48 percent for server rooms. Avoid the extremes and check your humidity every few days.
The Importance of Data Backup
You should always keep a complete backup of your business's most important files to prevent data loss and system downtime. Even if you take all of the precautions listed above to protect your business's systems from extreme weather and high temperatures, consistently backing up your computers is the only way to stay absolutely safe.
We recommend keeping at least three copies of databases and other mission-critical files. Organize incremental backups and make sure that you have practices in place to restore a damaged server, NAS or SAN. With a proper backup plan, you can keep your business safe from data loss year round.