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Keeping the Lights on When the Power Goes Off10 June 2015

When did you last take a look at your organisation’s uninterruptible power supply (UPS) unit? Probably never. After all, it’s just a big black box sitting in a corner somewhere, one of those pieces of IT that most people never think about and, if they come across it, don’t really understand what it does.

Yet this unglamorous lump of IT kit is a business lifesaver. When the lights go out because your electricity supply has failed, the UPS jumps into action, providing the back-up power needed to keep your critical systems running, including your computer network.

Power cuts, while relatively unusual, still occur across the UK at a regional or local level. Bad weather brings down power lines every year, throwing whole communities into darkness. Localised power outages happen every week, often unpredictably and lasting anything from a few minutes to several hours.


Your UPS can provide disaster prevention

Good disaster recovery planning can make the difference between an organisation failing or continuing in the face of serious crisis. A UPS has a part to play in disaster recovery planning, but it also has a significant role in disaster prevention.

A sudden cut in your power supply can become a disaster, even when it’s not accompanied by the more usual crisis scenarios such as fire or flood. Without a UPS in place, a power cut will force your Servers and other critical equipment to shut down suddenly. The implications of a Server not shutting down in an orderly fashion can be disastrous.

At best, this could mean the frustration of being unable to work for a while. At worst, it can mean communication links being down and vital business information lost or corrupted because the failure occurred at a critical point in its processing, or that hardware is damaged.

Some businesses, such as manufacturers, may be hit even harder. Interruption of the manufacturing process can damage products and machines, requiring time for clean up, resetting and rework.

Organisations with a robust UPS strategy can’t go on functioning indefinitely without power being restored. A UPS doesn’t generate its own power. At the simplest level, a UPS is a battery that ensures the power keeps flowing when the mains supply fails, giving you time to implement an orderly shutdown of your IT and other systems, minimising the risk of losing data being processed. A UPS can even help with the simple, yet essential, task of keeping the lights on.


A UPS is more than just a battery

Losing power is not the only way in which the electricity supply can damage data and equipment. Power surges and spikes are also a risk and even the most basic UPS devices generally include surge protection.

It’s easy to forget that electricity is not supplied at a standard, consistent rate to workplaces and homes. Without getting technical, electric current is subject to many variables which, while usually invisible to us, can cause problems for IT equipment. Factors such as the weather, demands on the local power supply and even an animal falling on the power line create fluctuations that can be enough to trip up computers and the processes they control.

A UPS offers protection against these variations, allowing you to remain unaware of anything but the most significant power issues.

This UPS protection is available for anything from a single computer to an office network, a data centre, an entire manufacturing plant or even a town or city. A variety of UPS technologies exist to handle situations of different scales and which offer a mix of solutions.


How to choose the right UPS system

Because every organisation has different needs, it’s important to choose a UPS solution that’s right for you. This may be a single device or a mix of products which fit with your business continuation and disaster recovery strategies.

The UPS solution is more than just installing one or more devices; it’s also about appropriate checks to ensure they are working as required and that the level of cover they provide continues to meet your needs. As with your data backup service, it’s easy to assume that your UPS solution is operating correctly until it’s tested by a genuine crisis.

We work with our clients to identify their UPS needs and we develop a solution for today, along with a strategy for continuous review. Through our proactive service methodology, we take actions in advance to keep our clients’ systems operational, avoiding disruption to their day-to-day activities.

If you want to know more about how a UPS solution can benefit your organisation today, give us a call on 0808 168 9135 or email We’d be pleased to have a no-obligation conversation with you.

Our clients want to give all their attention to running their business or organisation without worrying about interruptions caused by electricity supply problems. A UPS system is part of the answer, offering protection from power supply variables and helping to keep their data and hardware safe.