In Part 1 of this topic (Read about it here) we discussed the different technologies available to your business to protect you against power outages. In this post, we discuss a simple and relatively inexpensive device to protect your power. In addition, we discuss a top end solution to provide power to your business, a generator.
UPS AND SURGE PROTECTION
An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is a device that ensures computer systems can stay on temporarily in the moments following a power outage, so they can be shut down gracefully to avoid losing data in RAM. They also provide surge protection, to ensure that electrical current irregularities do not damage computer components.
There are a wide variety of UPS devices available today, and a number of things to consider when selecting one. When evaluating a UPS, start with the needs of the protected systems, such as:
• Number of devices supported
• Types of devices (e.g., desktops, servers, networking equipment, other electronics, etc.)
• Power requirements for each device
You’ll also want to consider specific UPS functionality. For example, many devices offer features such as:
• Automatic graceful shutdown of protected devices
• Customizable shutdown commands
• Power save mode
• Battery life notification
Pricing for UPS devices varies widely, and is largely dictated by the factors outlined above. Choosing the right device requires a careful consideration of your needs so you don’t overspend. These devices can represent a significant investment. That being said, be careful not to underestimate your needs.
Not every business requires dedicated generator power. For example, most businesses can tolerate the downtime associated with a short-term power outage. Also, many office buildings have standby generators that companies can rely on. However, if your business has specific requirements that necessitate a generator, such as a restaurant that relies on refrigerators for perishable goods, there are a number of things to consider.
First, you’ll have to calculate the minimum wattage for your generator. To do this, you need to take an inventory of the equipment you need to power, add up the wattage, and multiply by 1.5 to account for the extra power necessary for equipment startup. There is also a wide variety of generator wattage charts available to help you determine the right generator for your business.
Depending on your power needs, there are two types of generators to consider—portable and standby.
Portable generators are typically lower in cost and wattage than standby generators. They typically run on gasoline and must be manually started and plugged into an electrical sub-panel following an outage. Standby generators on the other hand are much more expensive, run on natural gas or propane, and are directly wired into a switch in your electrical system. They are designed to automatically turn on when power is cut.
HOW TO AVOID DATA LOSS FROM A POWER OUTAGE
Avoiding data loss from a power outage is straightforward—you need a secure, second copy of your critical business data in a separate location that you can easily access in case your primary systems are damaged due to power loss or other data disasters. For businesses, backing up data is a fundamental part of responsible entrepreneurship. But, backup can mean many different things. The approach that you choose to protect your data will have a dramatic impact on the speed and success of your recovery.
When it comes to backup, it’s important to understand two concepts: recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO). RTO is the amount of time that it takes to get a system restored following a failure or disaster event. RPO is the point in time to which data can be restored following the event.
When it comes to power outages, a solution that offers low RPO is essential. Here’s why: Let’s say you perform a backup at 6pm every night. If a primary server was damaged in a power outage and failed at 5pm the following afternoon, your RPO would be 23 hours. Any data within that timeframe would be lost.
Modern backup solutions, like Datto, take incremental backups of business data continuously throughout the day—some as often as every five minutes—to deliver very low RPO. They also allow users to run production workloads from the backup server or in the cloud while restoring primary operations for low RTO.
If you are choosing a backup solution today, this type of functionality should be a serious consideration. Traditional backup methods cannot deliver the low RTO and RPO of today’s backup software and services. The ability to run applications from a cloud backup is particularly useful to prevent downtime during a long-term power outage. Data protection solutions, like Datto’s, allow businesses to access applications they need to conduct normal business when on premises systems are without power.
Power outages don’t discriminate. They hit businesses of all shapes and sizes, in any region or industry. Black outs result in billions of dollars in losses per year. SMBs in particular are vulnerable to downtime and financial loss from a power outage and should take the appropriate steps to mitigate the impact of this type of event as highlighted above.
The steps you take to prevent downtime from power outages will largely be dictated by the specifics of your business. At a minimum, you should protect your electronic equipment against power surges and ensure they can shut down properly in the event of an outage. Cloud apps can help some businesses, allowing employees to work from home (as long as they have power). Backing up data should also be considered essential, in case the above measures fail. You may need to invest in a generator. If you do, be certain that you size it properly for your power requirements.
With proper planning, you can greatly minimize the impact a power outage will have on your operations. Determine the amount of power outage downtime your business can tolerate, and build your strategy around that.
DTS InfoTech Can Help
If you would like more information on Data Backup and Disaster Recovery, download your Free Business Advisory Guide Here.
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