As we start approaching the summer, thunder and lightning storms become more frequent. Thunderstorms prove to be extremely dangerous for electrical devices, including computers, audio visual equipment, and appliances. In addition, due to the increased electrical demand on the grid due to air conditioner use, brownouts and blackouts are more frequent too.
For equipment that needs to be protected, certainly a solid surge protector is the recommended choice. Quality surge suppressors usually are rated with a joule rating, which defines how much energy the surge protector can absorb in a single event. Good surge protectors usually are rated at 1000 joules or more and are often in the price range of $20-$30. A cheap $10 power strip does not afford much protection.
For critical computer and network equipment, you should consider an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS). A UPS provides solid protection against electrical spikes and is equipped with a powerful battery backup to keep your computer on during brownouts and blackouts.
The most obvious and overwhelming electrical catastrophe is lightning. Lightning does not have to strike in your immediate vicinity to cause devastation to your system. When a lightning strike hits the city's electrical matrix, a crushing jolt of energy is distributed through the grid, resulting in severe electrical spikes and blackouts. This one-two punch to your computer can be caused by lightning strikes miles away.
A good UPS also provides your computer with 15-75 minutes of backup power as well as constant voltage regulation. This is important so that you have time to save that important file you have been working on and shut the computer down gracefully.
Note, if you have a laptop, laptops have built in batteries, so a UPS would not be necessary, just a good surge suppressor.