At the Core
4 December 14

IT Disasters Come In All Types – This One May Surprise You

Every day, businesses find themselves in new perilous situations that require assistance with disaster recovery. A company's IT infrastructure can be a fragile thing, and there are numerous potential threats that can put its health in jeopardy.

Most commonly, disaster recovery is a measure that companies take in the aftermath of a major catastrophe that disrupts the storage of their public or private cloud data. For example, serious weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, snowstorms and ice storms have a way of causing IT disasters at numerous places of business.

"Recently in Silicon Valley, the headlines were abuzz with the news that a squirrel had chewed through a fiber-optic cabling line."

Sometimes, the cause of an IT shutdown is something much more difficult to predict. It's something smaller, less noticeable and more… squirrelly.

Recently in Silicon Valley, the headlines were abuzz with the news that a squirrel had chewed through a power line, causing a massive power outage that disrupted the tech epicenter of the United States. This just goes to show that disasters can come in all shapes and sizes. It's always important to be prepared for any eventuality.

A nibbling power problem
USA Today had the full story. On the morning of Nov. 22, the squirrel chewed through a fiber-optic line and caused the power outage in the heart of the valley. The incident left a significant portion of the area without power for two hours on that Saturday morning. Nearly 2,000 customers in the Cupertino area were left in the dark.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that power was finally restored in the area around 8:30 a.m. As for the squirrel, he was sadly electrocuted after touching the electrical equipment, which was managed by power company PG&E.

The "squirrel incident" was a major event, even early on a Saturday morning, given that Cupertino is a hub of American tech innovation. The city is best known for the headquarters of Apple, and it's also the home of hard drive maker Seagate Technology.

No one isolated incident
A squirrel chewing through a power line sounds like a rather strange event – one that you don't encounter every day, you would think. But recent evidence indicates that the squirrel-chewing catastrophe in California last month was actually far from an isolated event. These things happen far more often than you might think.

Even a tiny squirrel can be a serious threat.

In a piece for the New York Times last year, columnist Jon Mooallem described an informal survey of squirrel-triggered power outages that he coordinated via Google News alerts. Surprisingly, he found that between late May and late August of 2013, there were approximately 50 such power disasters, spanning 24 U.S. states. One even cut off power to a whopping 10,000 customers.

Always be prepared
All of this goes to show that it's important to be prepared for technical catastrophes in business. You never know when disaster may strike, or what kind of disaster it might be, so you have to stay on your toes. It's beneficial to partner with a disaster recovery team that can always help get you back on your feet quickly, no matter what comes your way.

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