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Digital Forensics, Construction, Equipment Loss

University Data Center

25 October 2021

An Envista Data Loss Consulting expert was called in to investigate damage to a university data center. 

The insured claimed that during construction, a contractor damaged a transformer that supplied power to the data center, which resulted in a power surge that disabled cooling and caused the equipment to overheat. Because of the resulting smoke, the fire suppression system was deployed and sprayed the equipment with dry chemicals to suppress any potential for the fire to start. The initial claim was for $36M-$40M to replace all impacted equipment.

Envista put together a team of experts across Data Loss Consulting, Electrical Engineering, and Equipment Restoration to fully investigate the loss and determine remediations steps. Our experts took inventory, evaluated all the equipment including obtaining log files from IT equipment, reviewing the damaged transformer, and taking wipe samples of the contamination.

When Envista evaluates equipment to determine if it should be decontaminated, repaired, or replaced, our experts look at the individual loss and decide whether equipment can be restored cost-effectively and reliably. They look at warranty details and whether time is a factor, especially when it comes to potential business interruption.

The investigation revealed that the transformer cabling was damaged during a parking lot demolition on campus, which left only power to the equipment and not the AC, causing the over-temperature as the equipment ran without cooling of the ambient environment. In this case, although a splice to the cabling could have been used to repair the cable, it was not as reliable as an entirely new run of cabling. Therefore, Envista recommended replacing the cabling to restore the transformer to operation and a pre-loss condition.  

Envista's investigation determined that instead of needing to replace all the equipment damaged by the fire suppression system, it could be restored according to the original equipment manufacturer's standards through decontamination. Envista's analysis significantly reduced the amount of business interruption to multiple stakeholders and to equipment within the data center. In addition, the insured did not have to wait for new equipment to be delivered, take the time to install it, or learn how to use the new equipment. Temporary data storage was utilized to allow for continued operation and restoration as equipment became available. Instead of needing up to $40M worth of new equipment, the final cost was $960,000 for the full restoration. 

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About The Author
Jared Fegan
Jared Fegan
Senior Project Consultant, IT Hardware
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