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Tech Now software (name changed for this blog purposes) was doing great business. A few decent sized orders to automate the software systems of a group of education institutes in multiple cities gave them the boost needed to become a name to reckon with in the cities IT landscape.

It soon became evident that the current office space was not sufficient and they decided to move to a new address. A bigger place with state of the art furniture and glass door cabins and swanky conference rooms – just like a typical IT company would dream of.

There was however just one small glitch, their server room had not been planned properly as a few new server boxes and firewall switches were delivered before they could plan out the space properly. Since the dates for the move to the new office were already declared, they had to comply.

With the haste of moving and the quick adoption of the new space, the proper electrical setup, conduits and safety measures were temporary and the company started functioning. It did great for a couple of months and everyone forgot about the server room set up and wiring being a makeshift arrangement.

On that Friday night, when everyone had left, the system admin closed down the machines and kept the key servers that took the backup and exchanged the mails. He had smelt a little bit of smoke but thought it was just someone outside burning some extra dried leaves in their garden. He too left and thankfully there was no one in the office premises when the short circuit happened. The cables laid out on the floor touched a pool of water that was leaking from a faulty water dispenser. The current jumped and the first spark took the mail server. The next was the backup server. The power to both these machines was interrupted and a fire broke out. The security guards realized, hit the panic button and entered with fire extinguishers and were able to control the fire in 10 minutes. The buzzers and the fire alarms also did not trigger off as the power to them was lost when the cables burnt in the short circuit.

After incident analysis

A detailed report and analysis of the damage showed a complete loss of two days of mails data and a week of backup data. Critical deadlines were affected as entire projects were set back by several weeks. Thankfully,there was no injury or damage to life. But the mishap slapped the management’s eyes open. They did a full fact finding and analysis and came to two conclusions. The server room power supply was not the best quality and the wiring used was of a cheap quality. Had the electrical safety measures being followed, the power supply would not have shorted and data loss could have been easily prevented. Even the alarms would have done their jobs if they had power to ring.

As the data loss was significant, the setback to schedules cost Tech Now a large amount of money. Not to mention the loss of reputation as future clients were now warned of the impact of such incidents and they demanded a full disaster recovery plan and strategy to prevent such incidents.

Could it have been prevented?

Yes, it could have been avoided completely. If you have read so far and are a business owner or an architect or a designer, you should think about the quality of the material used to build your office, home or business. If this got you thinking, please do check out the material used and make sure it is as per the recommended standards and of the sufficient load carrying capacity. Keep looking out for this space to know more about how to find out if you need a change of the wiring. After all, being safe is the first step to being ready to recover from a disaster; should it strike you by any chance.

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