You already know the importance of keeping IT equipment up, running and in good health, but let’s take a step back and explore the often-overlooked fundamentals of power. Power is the lifeline of your business, and a comprehensive power management strategy is a modern-day must-have. Do you have a boss who is after the biggest trends and industry buzzwords (IoT, Cloud, SaaS, PaaS, etc.), and doesn’t want anything on-premise? Or do you have a manager who doesn’t trust off-premise IT at all? This person may also be asking why everything can’t just be plugged into a surge protector or the wall.
Regardless of your company’s IT culture and today’s technology trends, IT professionals always must be at the ready when it comes to justifying their devices, deployments and preferred strategies. Lucky for you, power fundamentals have not changed (much).
In this first installment of a three-part series, we highlight actual power outage issues and explore real-world threats, giving you the information and insight you need to make the most compelling argument in favor of a comprehensive backup power solution that includes uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs)--no matter who your boss is.
First, let’s discuss why organizations need a backup power UPS in the first place. The obvious answer: to keep systems running and business operating when power fails.
Businesses experience power failure and its consequences more often than your supervisors might think. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2016 customers suffered an average of 1.3 power interruptions, experiencing downtime for an average of four hours during the year. Location is a major factor: Some parts of the country experience outages more commonly than others, and for longer periods of time.
Cybercrime, and the resulting data loss, is another more recent threat to power infrastructures. With the global cost of cybercrime projected to reach $2 trillion in 2019--a threefold increase from 2015 estimates of $500 billion--professional services firm KPMG’s 2018 Global Power & Utilities Outlook’s found that 48% of power and utility leaders believe a cyberattack on their company is inevitable. Because protecting your business data entails multiple tools (including firewalls and intrusion detection software) that require zero downtime, maintaining power during an attack is even more critical. It also means considering cybersecurity at every connection point of your business, from a thermostat in the lobby to the network card in your UPS.
Beyond data loss, the potential consequences of a power failure include customers’ inability to access your services. Not only does an outage affect hard dollars (the money lost because a customer cannot complete a purchase), but also soft dollars (i.e., the loss of confidence in your brand’s ability to service them). The hard dollars can be calculated, but you may never know how many future sales were squandered.
Once power is eventually restored, the next step is to determine how well your servers and other critical systems fared. File and database systems’ ability to handle a mid-transaction shutdown has gotten better over the years, but to fully protect your data and ensure that it is safely written to a hard drive, your server should be properly and gracefully shut down using the built-in database or operating system functions. Even if you do not plan on transitioning to a generator, using a UPS will ensure that the operating system has enough time to finish saving a file.
Finally, if you’re going to use a generator for a long-term backup solution, combining a UPS will bridge the gap during generator startup, increase your protection, provide clean power and prevent equipment damage. Make sure you pair the right UPS with your generator.
Now that you’ve established the need (and business case) for a UPS backup power solution, it’s time to explore key considerations for making sure you get the right solution. In the next installment of our series, we’ll address how to choose the correct backup power UPS solution, how to correctly size a UPS, how many you might need and how to connect your UPSs to infrastructure and equipment.