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Unlike Lightning, Solar Flares Can Strike the Same Place Twice

b2ap3_thumbnail_solar_flares_400.jpgIn 1859, our planet was hit with the largest recorded solar flare. This particular flare was known as the Carrington Event and it produced auroras that could be seen all around the world, even as far south as the Caribbean. The 1859 solar flare caused minimal damage and was seen mainly as an oddity. If such a flare struck today, however, the world would erupt into chaos.

What makes a solar flare like this so dangerous for our modern society is that, when the massive geomagnetic storm collides with the Earth’s magnetosphere, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is created, which effectively disables all of the Earth’s electronics.

Electricity-based technology was in its infancy back in 1859. Therefore, the only negative effect that society experienced from the flare was the downing of its telegraph systems, as reported throughout both Europe and North America. In some cases, telegraph operators received electric shocks and telegraph pylons threw sparks.

A first-hand account of the phenomenon from the Baltimore American and Commercial Advertiser provides us with some unique insight into the event, which lasted multiple days:

Those who happened to be out late on Thursday night had an opportunity of witnessing another magnificent display of the auroral lights. The phenomenon was very similar to the display on Sunday night, though at times the light was, if possible, more brilliant, and the prismatic hues more varied and gorgeous. The light appeared to cover the whole firmament, apparently like a luminous cloud, through which the stars of the larger magnitude indistinctly shone. The light was greater than that of the moon at its full, but had an indescribable softness and delicacy that seemed to envelop everything upon which it rested. Between 12 and 1 o’clock, when the display was at its full brilliancy, the quiet streets of the city resting under this strange light, presented a beautiful as well as singular appearance.

If a solar flare of this magnitude happened today, the newspapers would be reporting a much different story. It would be the most catastrophic event in our lifetime and it would take years to rebuild the world’s devastated technology. The loss of our communications tools like in 1859 would be the least of our worries. The loss of lives from planes falling from the sky would be horrific, and if infrastructure like nuclear power plants failed, then the world would be at risk of experiencing multiple meltdowns.

In an event like a major solar flare, the economy will grind to a halt, affecting your business along with every other organization in Phoenix. Now granted, in such an event, getting your business up and running again won’t be an immediate concern, but it will become a priority once the rebuilding process is underway.

What are the odds of such a disaster happening? NASA claims that there’s a 12 percent chance of a solar flare event similar to the one in 1859 occurring between now and 2022, making it one of the more likely worldwide-doomsday scenarios.

In a post-solar flare world, there will be two types of businesses; those that will be able to quickly rebuild because their backed up data is accessible, and those that have to start over from scratch because their data was lost. Your best chance of having your data survive such a catastrophic event is by having it backed up with Total Networks’s Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) solution.

With BDR, as soon as the grid is up and communications are restored, we will be able to connect with your company’s network and restore your data that’s stored in our secure data center–assuming that the nuclear meltdown hasn’t turned our technicians into radioactive-blood-thirsty solar flare mutants.

Dare to survive the flare and call Total Networks at (602)412-5025.

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People are the X Factor for a Successful Technology Strategy

b2ap3_thumbnail_company_collaboration_400.jpgBusinesses look to technology to solve their problems and make operations more efficient, and rightfully so, after all, technology is synonymous with “solution.” Although, just purchasing new technology isn’t enough to automatically see the desired results. New technology must be accompanied by intentional implementation efforts, which includes adapting it to your company’s culture. In other words, working with people.

You Can’t Have One Without the Other
After studying new research about digital transformation among companies investing in the digital customer experience, Brian Solis, principal analyst for the Altimeter Group, made this observation to

That’s the irony about digital transformation, it doesn’t work when in and of itself technology is the solution. Technology has to be an enabler and that enabler needs to be aligned with a bigger mission. We already found that companies that lead digital transformation from a more human center actually bring people together in the organization faster and with greater results.

The Need for CIOs to Work on Their People Skills
Solis goes on to say that whoever’s job it is to implement the new technology within a company (typically it’s the CIO), has their work cut out for them. “The CIO is more important than ever before. Instead of working against a technology roadmap, CIOs are now focusing on organizational processes and objectives that matter more to different types of customers and employees.” In other words, “CIO” should now include a “P” for “Chief Information and Personnel Officer.”

This shift may be a challenge for many long-term CIOs. Chances are, they got into IT because of their love for technology, not because they enjoyed working with people. Technology has reached a level where it needs to find a supportive cultural environment for proper implementation. This means talking with and organizing people. Many of us are well aware that working with technology is much easier than working with people. Technology is predictable and its solutions are straightforward, whereas humans are highly unpredictable and often have attitudes that are difficult to manage.

How a Technology Person can Motivate the Team
Getting people on board with the new solution being implemented is absolutely the key to its success. For example, if users prefer the older technology, and they don’t want to invest the time into learning a new system, then they may give the new tech a half-hearted go at it, intending that their negative feedback will get the CIO to revert back to the old ways; or an employee may simply dislike the CIO for a petty reason and choose to make the implementation of the new tech difficult out of spite. A poor attitude like this would make the entire endeavor a huge waste of company time and money.

As the cultural curator for your company, it’s your responsibility to get employees motivated to appreciate new technology, or at least understand the value of it so they will use it without too much whining. This isn’t an impossible task. Think about the reasons why you value new solutions, reasons like how new tech makes your business more secure and more competitive. All you have to do is communicate these benefits to your team. Feel free to let your passion for technology show when you’re explaining things, and if you happen to not be charismatic enough to “rally the troops,” then you probably know someone with this ability.

In fact, Total Networks can be the technology ambassador your team needs. We can talk to your employees about the benefits of fully adopting new solutions, and we can provide your organization with the educational resources needed to influence your company culture about the value of new technology. Implementing new technology can be difficult (especially when people are involved), but we’re here to make the process easy. Call us at (602)412-5025 to learn about the best ways to make technology work for you, and not the other way around.

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