Detrimental Environmental Effects an IT Person Can Mitigate

by Modis on November 23, 2011

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IT professionals constantly concern themselves with data security and making sure digital information is protected and backed-up.  What we sometimes forget is that the environment can actually pose a threat to this information and equipment in a number of ways.

Luckily, there are methods IT workers can use to mitigate environmental effects on electronics, which will help safeguard the computers, additional hardware, and the information these machines contain. Here’s a list of the common environmental threats and how you can lessen their effects.


Not only is fire generally damaging and extremely dangerous for the people working in the office — if a fire starts in a room with computers and other electronics, they can all be destroyed in an instant if you don’t have the proper fire suppression system.

Probably the best fire suppression system is three-tiered. Once a fire is detected, first everything will power off, then a gas-based suppression system will be activated (a common type is the FM-200 system because it doesn’t hurt the environment like Halon does), and finally, if these other two methods fail, the sprinkler system will douse the flames.

In having a system like this, you’ll be able to keep from drenching your equipment unless it’s absolutely necessary. You’re using two other methods and giving people the chance to put out the fire before taking the most damaging action.

Natural disasters

It’s important to keep in mind what kind of natural disasters generally affect your area. Taking this into consideration can help you save thousands of dollars in equipment if a hurricane or earthquake comes and damages the building.

If your area is earthquake-prone, make sure to not keep computer towers and other large electronic equipment high up because if they crash on the floor, they’ll be destroyed and can potentially hurt people in the office. Also, check into flooring regulations if earthquakes are common.

If your location has a history of being affected by hurricanes or any other type of storm that causes flooding, then you’ll want to put your towers and other equipment on a rack to prevent severe water damage.

Static electricity

A shock of static electricity can burn out a computer chip and render it useless. Unfortunately, this type of electricity can be quite common, so it’s important to take measures to alleviate its presence. There are a few ways to do this.

First, it’s vital that you control the humidity levels of the rooms containing electrical equipment. The more humid a room is, the less likely it is that static will build up because the presence of water makes it difficult. Second, make sure the flooring in server rooms is tile, not carpet, to prevent static.

Third, if you plan on opening up the computer to work on it, make sure you ground yourself before touching it and potentially shocking it into oblivion. This basically involves touching something that isn’t active (which is why people touch door knobs when they’ve shuffled across carpet).


This is probably one of the most basic dangers to computers, and it’s why towers have fans inside of them. If the electronics aren’t cooled down, they’ll overheat and stop working. This is especially important for server rooms, which contain numerous machines that create a lot of heat.

Because of this, it’s important to incorporate cooling systems into rooms with many electronics. Keep in mind the potential for buying more equipment and how that’ll affect the hat of the room. When deciding on a cooling system, purchasing one that includes a dust filter is also a good way to go, as dust can pose a potential heat threat.

Over time, dust, smoke (although people should never be smoking around computers), and other tiny materials can get stuck in the computers and potentially stall the fans. This could also lead to overheating, so it’s important to clean out the inside of computers about once a month.


A lot of things can be detrimental to the performance of computers and other equipment, but if you keep in mind all of the outside threats, you’ll be able to take action to avoid these circumstances and lessen the effects of environmental conditions.

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