6 tips to protect your computer during load shedding
Eskom warned that load shedding is here to stay this year. When South Africa requires more electricity than Eskom can provide, either as a result of an increase in demand or a fall in supply, then we’re in trouble. As Eskom battles to cope with the demand of electricity, our computer equipment is at risk of being negatively disrupted.
Computers are sensitive to power cuts and power dips and surges, so we need to action to protect them. When power is switched off, you might lose not only your last changes to your work, but your open files can become corrupted or damaged and you will not be able to restore them.
Fortunately our graphic design studio in Durban now has a generator so we can work uninterrupted (although it sounds like we have a tractor outside!) but we still follow these methods to protect our computers and data.
Halo Media have put together a few tips on how you can protect your computer equipment during load shedding. We have invested in these necessary measures to protect your work and our sanity.
Do Regular backups
Always ensure that your latest work is backed up so that you do not lose hours or weeks of work when the power goes out. Consistant backups are imperative, not only due to load shedding, but because they can be a lifesaver if your computers are stolen or your hard drive crashes. There are numerous free cloud storage options which provide a safe, secure solution – Copy, Dropbox or iCloud. Cloud data backups are kept safe on secured servers and can be accessed from another location (they are also handy if you want to look at a file whilst away from your computer as you can login online to view). For larger data solutions, invest in IT companies who specialise in data protection and will manually store your data in safe vaults.
Invest in a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply)
A UPS gives you time to quit applications you are working on and to save your work before you can safely shut down your computer. Generators will take a few seconds to kick in after the power has been switched off. A UPS will prevent your computer from losing power before you’ve saved your work. A UPS also provides a “clean” energy solution – your electricity goes through it before being distributed to your computers etc, so it helps to absorb power surges etc.
Switch off all computers not performing critical functions
Any data that is open on a computer is at risk of being damaged or corrupted during a power failure. So, you need to get into the habit of quitting applications and shutting down computers when you are not using them for a while.
Surge Protectors are a must
During load shedding, electronic devices can be subjected to power surges. Power surges happen when the power is restored again. In order to protect your computer, invest in plug adapters that come with surge protectors fitted. But bare in mind that there are no guarantees that they will protect your devices from a much stronger surge or lightning.
Switch off computers and unplug them
If you do not have surge protectors, reduce the risk of harm to your computer by switching it off and unplugging it from the main power source when power cuts. Otherwise, the power surges could damage your computer when electricity is restored. Advice we have been given is that even if you have a surge protector or UPS, to unplug your machines if you suspect an electrical storm as a direct hit will be too strong for a surge protector.
Invest in a power bank
A power bank can be indispensable for managing your business when there is no electricity. These portable chargers will let you top up the battery of your USB-powered mobile devices so that you can keep working.
Finally, always save your work! We can’t stress this enough – even if your computer goes down, the work can hopefully be retrieved (but avoid it at all costs!) but if you haven’t been saving whilst you work, then there is nothing to retrieve!