Your organization’s megabuck disaster recovery infrastructure is primed to jump to the rescue in any crisis… until hackers shut down all power grids…

As cloud-based services and Internet of Things (IoT) applications proliferate, businesses in the process of actively pursuing digital opportunities to stay ahead of their competitors may find themselves increasingly reliant on greater amounts of energy to keep operations up-and-running.

However, this dependence comes with risks. Not only are costs of power disruptions—in the form of lost productivity, manufacturing disruption, damaged inventory and financial losses—staggering, but risks are further compounded by the mounting threats posed by the growing complexity of power management.

Often, businesses view power disruptions as an unavoidable sunk cost. As technology continues to advance, it is time for businesses to adopt a mindset shift. Instead of looking at power disruptions as a running cost, the time is ripe for businesses to take the lead in strengthening their energy resilience, to optimize the performance of mission-critical infrastructures.

Power management complexities

The advent of digital technologies such as 5G and IoT has rendered power management solutions more sophisticated and pervasive than ever. However, this adoption of smart solutions also signifies a greater exposure of infrastructural and system vulnerabilities, as unprecedented challenges along with new opportunities for power management take hold in the region.

Of greatest concern to any modern business is cybersecurity, especially as attacks grow in scale and magnitude. Coupled with the increasing connectivity of smart infrastructures and the lack of secure-by-design facilities, power management can become a gateway for cyber criminals.

They can easily transform smart equipment into conduits for malware and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks to trigger massive cascading power outages. Given that cyberattacks were found to be one of the top concerns for doing business in Asia in a survey by Marsh & McLennan Companies, the importance for businesses to improve resilience and keep pace with evolving attack techniques cannot be understated. Only by doing so can one ensure that critical infrastructures do not easily fall prey to persistent attackers.

In Asia’s race towards a low-carbon future, businesses must also double down on improving energy efficiency. While data centers are set to consume 20% of the world’s electricity by 2050, countries are simultaneously looking to curb carbon emissions through various measures such as carbon pricing.

For example, Singapore has implemented a carbon tax, while Vietnam and Thailand are considering carbon trading schemes. In response, adoption of renewable energy is fast becoming a viable option at the business level, as companies work to boost energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint.

Future-proofing for business continuity

By 2021, approximately 60% of Asia’s gross domestic product (GDP) will originate from products and services created through digital transformation. Businesses hoping to capitalize on related growth opportunities must ensure the robustness of their power and digital infrastructures, and future-proof themselves with new technologies. For example, businesses can use integrated systems for power management and disaster preparedness to avoid the dangers of unplanned downtime. Such technologies are also increasingly used to predict, monitor, visualize, automate and provide solutions in a cyber-attack. They can also facilitate any necessary shut-down of equipment remotely.

In today’s ever-evolving business landscape, businesses must stay alert in the identification and mitigation of emerging risks to business performance. It is thus vital to ensure that infrastructures are modernized and capable of adapting to changing environments. For example, advancements in uninterruptible power supply (UPS) technology now allow businesses to make their UPS both a backup power source and a channel for stabilizing grid frequency fluctuations. Be it the pursuit of 5G technology or adoption of renewables as an energy source; modernized and agile infrastructures could be the key to helping Asian businesses stay ahead as part of Asia’s growth trajectory.

Staying ahead in the digital economy

Against a backdrop of breakthroughs and technological innovations driving business continuity, companies must remain prudent and ensure that disaster recovery plans are regularly refreshed to adapt to industry developments. This means equipping one’s business with the capabilities to quickly bounce back from wide-ranging effects of power disruptions or outages.

Often, the importance of a reliable, secure energy source becomes glaringly obvious only when an outage occurs and operational vulnerabilities of mission-critical infrastructures are exposed. Central to our shift towards a digitally-connected, sustainable future is the ability to continuously build energy resilience. The importance of a modernized infrastructure cannot be overemphasized. Business leaders who recognize this will put them in good stead to thrive in the digital economy.