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Thunderstorms: a threat to information security

Dilluns, 7 july 2014

With varying degrees of power, thunderstorms can cause overvoltages and overloads in power lines and disrupt supply. This weather phenomenon is a general hazard, but can also represent a specific risk to computer equipment. Thunderstorms are known for their high destructive capability. A single flash of lightning can send a power surge along any power line and damage everything in its path. Natural phenomena, such as thunderstorms, voltage spikes or floods, could be responsible for up to 7% of data losses in Spain1.

 

What is it that really happens to electronic equipment when there is an anomaly in the power supply due to the weather? To answer this question, we will use the effects of a nearby lightning flash as an example, although it is only one of the many problems that can affect a system. A lightning flash can affect any nearby transformer and, if the overvoltage is sufficiently powerful, it can be transmitted instantaneously by power lines, networks, serial and telephone lines, as well as other wiring systems, with an electrical power equivalent to a tsunami. The overvoltage enters the system through power sockets and telephone lines.

The first victim is usually the modem or the main board, followed by the microprocessors or chips, which causes the data loss. The affected electrical company protects itself by disconnecting its grid, resulting in voltage drops and outages. If the surge is strong enough, it can travel instantaneously through electrical wiring and telephone lines until it reaches the computers and other electronic equipment in homes and companies, resulting in hazards for equipment and data.

A highly effective way of confronting these electrical anomalies is the installation of protective measures such as uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems to filter possible variations in the supply. UPS systems protect connected equipment from outages, power cuts and voltage spikes to ensure a constant flow of current. Possessing equipment that ensures a continuous, optimum and stable power supply has today become essential in both the professional and home environment.

Salicru’s mission is to ensure optimum energy availability and guarantee advanced and versatile protection for IT and multimedia equipment at home and in the office. To achieve this, we offer a wide range of UPS systems, the most notable of which are our flagship products, SPS ADVANCE RT, SPS ONE, SPS SOHO+ and SPS HOME, as well as a range of active electrical protection devices such as SPS SAFE. Boasting an attractive, lightweight and compact design, these products are available in power ratings ranging from 400 VA to 3 kVA. Thanks to advanced technology and versatile design, it is possible, with a single device, to protect computer network peripherals and multimedia elements: computers, printers, TVs, TV decoders, home cinemas, DVD players, video game consoles, etc. Moreover, not only is the security of stored information guaranteed, but also, by preventing overloads and other disruptions from the grid, the risk of faults is minimised and the useful life of the equipment is extended.

1 Source: Kroll Ontrack

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