What Delta Did Wrong

August 09, 2016

What Delta Did Wrong

By Chris Brunau

Recently, thousands of passengers were delayed when Delta Airlines canceled 427 flights due to a system outage. However, it could have been avoided if Delta had a business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plan.

Now is a good time to assess whether your business is protected enough to survive a power outage. The level of protection required depends on the needs of your business, so, it’s important to evaluate your tolerance for downtime associated with power outages, and invest in preventative tools accordingly.

Consider using cloud-based email and other applications so users can easily work from home while your business is without power. Cloud-based file sync and share (FSS) services can give users access to files they need from anywhere, on any device.

However, electronic equipment is inoperable without power. But, more importantly, power outages can cause devastating damage to a business’s IT systems, which can significantly increase downtime after power is restored. Electronic devices, including desktops computers, servers, printers, etc., require a steady electrical current. When that current becomes irregular, permanent damage to system components can occur.

UPS and Surge Protection

An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is a device that ensures computer systems can stay on temporarily in the moments following a power outage, so they can be shut down properly to avoid losing data in RAM. They also provide surge protection, to ensure that electrical current irregularities do not damage computer components.

There are a wide variety of UPS devices available today, and a number of things to consider when selecting one. When evaluating a UPS, start with the needs of the protected systems, such as:

  • Number of devices supported
  • Types of devices (e.g., desktops, servers, networking equipment, other electronics, etc.)
  • Power requirements for each device

You’ll also want to consider specific UPS functionality. For example, many devices offer features such as:

  • Automatic graceful shutdown of protected devices
  • Customizable shutdown commands
  • Power save mode
  • Battery life notification

Pricing varies widely and is largely dictated by the factors outlined above. Choosing the right device requires careful consideration of your needs so you don’t overspend. That being said, be careful not to underestimate your needs.


Not every business requires dedicated generator power. Most businesses can tolerate the downtime associated with a short-term power outage. Also, many office buildings have standby generators that companies can rely on. However, if your business has specific requirements that necessitate a generator, such as a restaurant that relies on refrigerators for perishable goods, there are a number of things to consider.

First, you’ll have to calculate the minimum wattage for your generator. To do this, you need to take an inventory of the equipment you need to power, add up the wattage, and multiply by 1.5 to account for the extra power necessary for equipment startup. There are also a wide variety of generator wattage charts available to help you determine the right generator for your business. Depending on your power needs, there are two types of generators to consider—portable and standby.

With proper planning, you can greatly minimize the impact a power outage will have on your operations. For more information on why power outages happen, how to avoid data loss from an outage and more, download our eBook: The Business Guide To Power Outages.


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