Sustainability and security have one thing in common: They’re both necessary for businesses in the digital age. Most Americans want to buy from companies that put environmental ethics first, but they also want those same businesses to invest in the most powerful and energy-intensive tools possible in the name of safety. Thankfully, engineers are finding ways to make sure that businesses can give their customers the best of both worlds. Here are five tools and techniques you can deploy to keep that balance between responsibility to your customers and to the environment.
Think Smart About Software Efficiency
Progress is all about using less energy to do more things. One problem that keeps cropping up is that some applications are very energy-intensive to run, and this needs to be a consideration. Even programming languages vary in energy efficiency, with Lisp consuming 2.27 times the energy of C according to a group of Portuguese researchers in their recent paper “Energy Efficiency Across Programming Languages.” Duration of device use is also a major consideration, so making the most of your computer time is critical. Even small time-savers like single sign on authentication can have a large cumulative impact on overall efficiency.
Invest in Sustainable Infrastructure
Nowadays, businesses don’t necessarily have to choose between production capacity and energy efficiency. Governments and environmental movements are offering tangible and intangible incentives for the development and acquisition of sustainable products. Looking for appliances and other devices with the EPA-backed Energy Star logo is a good start. This official push for responsible products also extends to computers and their accessories, so shop around and figure out where your business could benefit from an infrastructure upgrade.
Use Green Energy Whenever Possible
Even if you’re using the most efficient tech possible, a business will still use a large amount of energy for operations, including security. That’s energy that often has to be used and will compromise safety and productivity if it isn’t. Going green is a good way to create energy security while making a statement about environmental responsibility.
One of the more popular methods of investing in green energy is installing photovoltaic cells directly on your building. Detaching from the grid has two direct advantages. First, it’s not subject to the price volatility inherent to fossil fuels. Second, if the grid goes down, it won’t result in lost data from unpowered computers. The average cost of residential solar installation is $17,000 and the panels take about 7-20 years to pay for themselves, so consider this a long-term down payment in a better future.
Store Data Off the Network
It’s always a good idea to store backups of your company’s most vital documents somewhere other than on your device. A flash drive is a good solution for storing large amounts of data since the most advanced can store up to four terabytes of information and use no power. That being said, don’t forget the value of keeping hard copies. Paper may seem wasteful, but it’s not as costly as losing your files. Data loss recovery for a small to mid-sized business averages about $36,000 so you’re not being paranoid, just awake and aware.
Invest in Physical Security
Locking a door uses exactly zero kilowatt-hours of electricity and still helps to prevent data theft. Consider beefing up your non-electronic security systems with deadlock or deadbolt systems if you have the resources. Another good thing to have is a safe. Not only for your cash and other valuables but for your devices as well. This is easier said than done in the decentralized workforce of today, but that’s where training employees in a companywide security protocol comes in. A safe and responsible workplace can only be a reality if everyone’s on board with the vision.
We might live in an age of contradictions. But, having a world that’s both better and more secure doesn’t have to be one of them. With new tools coming in the next few years, businesses can be part of a better tomorrow while staying profitable.
Author: Finnegan Pierson