centre of attention WEATHERING THE STORM Satheesh Jacob of Ramboll explains how to prepare your data centre for the effects of extreme weather. T he effects of climate change are widely understood but understandably many perceive that there are more imminent risks to data centres, especially with the rise of cybersecurity breaches. However, new research has found global warming and climate change could result in 50 per cent more lightning strikes by the end of the century. Given that lightning is now known to occur on average 44 (± 5) times a second 12 over the entire Earth, a total of about 1.4 billion flashes per year, the risk of a strike is increasing rapidly. Historically numerous structures have been damaged either fully or partially due to lightning. Only after the invention of the lightning rod by Benjamin Franklin in 1752 has a scientific solution for the protection of life and property been successfully practiced. More recently a number of research projects have been undertaken and resulted in advancement in the field of lightning protection, but we still do not have all the answers. Today the Faraday cage principle is the standard method for the protection of life and property in buildings, and is currently followed to mitigate the risk of damage due to lightning. Growth of digital data The need to protect digital equipment has been increasing with rapid urbanisation and growth in cloud based digital technology, resulting in a huge influx of data centres worldwide.