UPS Systems’ response to ‘why did ‘power surge’ hit BA computers?’

UPS Systems PLC are the UK’s longest and most established independent industry specialists. We look after infrastructure for some of the UK’s largest businesses.

After the incident that left British Airways experiencing one of its worst IT meltdowns ever, it has left the world wondering, what went wrong? And, how can we stop it happening to us?

According to the BBC, BA have claimed that this did not constitute an IT failure, but rather “it was an electrical power supply which was interrupted”. Even now some travellers are waiting to be reunited with their luggage, pondering how a ‘power surge’ can bring such a large airline to its knees.

Can a single power surge disrupt a business?

No, it should not affect the operation if the power protection systems, which include UPS systems (uninterruptible power supply), have been designed correctly.

Could it have been prevented?

Yes, by expertly designing the system to include the following: –

  1. No single point of failure – Think about this like a delivery company with only one delivery van. If the van breaks down, the whole company comes to a stop. If the company has other vans, these can keep working while the broken-down van is repaired. In the case of data centres, spreading the load across two or more would stop a whole company being halted by a single power surge.
  2. Disaster Recovery (DR) – DR is a series of procedures that allow the continuation of vital IT systems and business operations. In the example of the delivery company, this could be achieved by shifting the deliveries to the remaining delivery vans.
  3. Automatic Emergency Standby Power Protection – This is alternate power supply, such as a generator, that will kick in if the primary power source fails. This, combined with a UPS system, means that there is no interruption to power ensuring business continuity.
  4. Regular Planned Preventative Maintenance – Any system, no matter how well designed, can fail if it is not maintained correctly.

If all of the above were implemented, then a ‘power surge’ would not bring a whole company to its knees. Customers would be unaware of any problem even as the affected area was being repaired.

Possibly, this is a warning to all businesses.

If you are concerned that your business could be disrupted in the same way as BA, why not talk to us about implementing a bespoke UPS system for your business.

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