Four Ways to Keep Your Technology and Data Safe During a Storm

It's been a little wet in Texas recently for those who don't live here. When we get thunderstorms here, it can create some issues, particularly for technology, which, as you probably know, doesn't mesh very well with water or power surges from lightning. I mean, have you ever dropped your iPhone in a toilet? You know who you are.

But, even with crazy weather, there is no reason that technology and the data stored on it can't be protected, and the costs are minimal compared to what it costs to replace your gear and your files.

Here are some ways to keep your tech safe in a storm.

5. Use a surge protector and/or a backup power supply.

One of the quickest and least expensive ways to keep your gear safe and running is a good quality surge protector -- not a power strip from the drug store! -- and a backup power supply (usually referred to as universal power supply or UPS). A good surge protector will keep anything plugged into it from turning to toast in the event of an electrical surge or lightning strike. A UPS will keep your gear running for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours when the power goes out at your home or office. If nothing else, it will allow you to save your work -- which you should be doing with regularity anyway, naughty boy -- and power your computer down safely. You might also consider trading in your desktop for a laptop. With its built-in power, it won't power off during an outage.

4. Back up your data.

I've written about this directly and indirectly a number of times, but it bears repeating. If you aren't backing up data now, start doing it immediately. Consider using a cloud service to back your stuff up online as well just in case you get a flood that destroys the backup drives in your house. Or put them in a safe...or get a waterproof drive. Yes, they exist.

3. Keep your stuff up off the ground and safe from leaks.

If you don't have waterproof equipment, make sure it is up at least 18 inches off the ground in case of flooding and keep it away from places that could potentially leak -- below a bathroom, for example. It doesn't take a dunking in water to ruin tech. Plenty of computers have been decimated by dripping water.

1. Insure everything.

If you don't have homeowner's insurance, consider a renter's policy. If that isn't an option, do a search for insuring musical instruments. The same personal insurance available for protecting music gear from theft and damage works for computers and technology.

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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke