Are Solar Storms a Business Risk?

Your business is open to various risks ranging from liabilities with customers or employees to theft and damage to your property to extreme weather and natural disasters. One thing you probably haven’t considered are solar storms. Solar storms, which are classified as space weather, can also have a large impact on your business and operations. You should provide your business with ample protection from the outage and other damages a solar storm can cause.

What are Solar Storms?

So what exactly is a solar storm? In a nutshell, when the Earth’s magnetic field gets an interruption by the Sun it causes a solar storm. Space weather experts say that solar storms can cause significant damage on Earth, even though the Sun is very far away. Often times, the solar storm is caused by another space weather event such as a coronal mass ejection or solar flare, which are events classified as solar wind due to the gust of particles making contact with the magnetic field. The impact soon develops into a solar storm. When the Earth’s magnetic field is interrupted, it might also cause damage to organisms due to the high amounts of radiation from the solar storm, which can affect animals and other living organisms on Earth.

Solar Storm Risks

Unfortunately, there are business risks of a solar storm, which should be properly protected. Many of the risks, though not all, are a result of the loss of power, service, and other mishaps caused by the solar storm. As you know, your business runs on electricity and needs access to power to function.

  • Power Outages – One of the most common risks of a solar storm is a power outage. For many businesses, when the power suddenly goes out, business halts. This means your network, computers, phones and other electronic systems in your business are no longer able to meet your business operation needs. You may have a short period of time to work if you have a laptop or tablet PC — but without the ability to charge devices or a generator, it will be very limited. This can have a negative impact on your business until you’re able to resume operations.
  • Flight Travel Disruption – If you need to travel for your business, the travel disruption that solar storms may cause is also a significant risk. Solar storms have been known to cause flight disruption. This means that if your business flight is affected by the solar storm, so are your business plans. You might miss important business meetings, leading to a loss in business revenue.
  • GPS Tracking Failure – Space weather experts have noticed that many of the existing GPS satellites will be affected by a solar storm. This is due to the radiation from solar flares during the storm. Your GPS will either navigate incorrectly or stop providing you with navigation overall. If you use GPS tracking or navigation on a daily basis, your business may be remiss without this technology.
  • Blacked-Out Electrical Grids – Solar flares during a solar storm also cause significant damage to electrical power grids which are used for communications. This causes a complete blackout, such as in 1989 when a solar flare blacked out all of Quebec for 12 hours. This kind of blackout causes an intense amount of stress for any business.
  • Service Outage – A significant issue with solar storms is the interruption in service. It’s common not only to have power outages, but service outages as well during this type of event. This means most communication is cut off, including cell phones — because of the lack of reception. Often times this also means Internet service is down and you won’t be able to contact others with your laptop either. There is no way to alert customers or clients, or colleagues, of the communication issue during the outage.

Solar storms are one of the newest developments in potential business risks and something you should be aware of. Considering offering your business additional protection through business insurance to help defray financial implications and other pitfalls that power and service outages and other disruptions the storm might cause.