How a UPS in storm season could save your business

Friday 26 Jan 2018 08 am

In the middle of the Brisbane summer, we’re thinking storm season. Specifically, about how a UPS in storm season could be the difference to keeping your business up and running - or not.

You’ve heard the classic tale of Frankenstein’s monster, haven’t you?

You know the one…

It was a dark and stormy night. Lightning roiled through dark clouds that blanketed the moon. And deep in the bowels of a decaying castle, a mad doctor worked furiously on the final touches of his creation.

All that was missing was a single bolt of lightning.


Sparks flew. Lightning surged and crackled through thick cables, and into an inert form lying on a table. As the noise died away, the form slowly lifted one, then two hands…

Your computer is not Frankenstein’s monster

A lightning strike won’t be bringing your computer back to life. In fact, a surge is likely to have the opposite effect: killing your computer stone dead.

Storms (and the lightning that accompanies them) have been part and parcel of the Brisbane summer for decades. Many of us have felt the impact when lightning’s struck in at least one of the two most common ways:

  1. The power surge
  2. The blackout

The power surge can be catastrophic for any electrical equipment that’s unprotected. And when it comes to computers, that just doesn’t mean your equipment, but your data too.

Blackouts may not be as damaging as a surge, but can still take any business reliant on their equipment offline in a single second.

Either way, a lightning strike can have a devastating impact on your business. But there is something that can protect your PC and other I.T. assets against the vagaries of a storm.

The ultimate anti-storm (and anti-Frankenstein) guardian

A UPS in storm season may just be the friend you’re looking for.

If your business uses a lot of IT equipment, you’re probably familiar with the Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). And while Frankenstein would have no use for a UPS, these units can save your business the angst and expense a lightning strike can bring.

A UPS does exactly what its title suggests: it keeps the lights on for any equipment connected to it if the power goes out. It also provides protection from spikes, surges or sags in power supply - all of which can damage computer equipment.

What your UPS can do for you in the case of a power outage depends on the type and size that you’ve got. And the difference in price and capability can range dramatically - from as little as $100 for a small unit into thousands for a UPS that’s capable of keeping a data centre running through power outages.

Lightning crackles above a city, the perfect time to have a UPS in storm season

What’s your UPS protecting?

The big benefit of a UPS in storm season is obvious: your business stays up and running regardless of what the power’s doing. That said, smaller units have a limited battery life, so your window of operation may be limited - though it does give you time to shut down systems gracefully.

But you’re not only maintaining business continuity with a UPS. Should the worst happen to the power grid, a UPS also guards:

  • Your I.T. equipment from irreparable damage
  • Your critical business data from loss (though you are backing up your data, aren’t you?)

Business continuity is more than just keeping the lights on. It’s about making sure your business has the equipment, data and assets it needs at all times to carry on.

But a UPS is not just about storm or power protection. They also refine the quality of the power feeding your equipment, ensuring your equipment’s getting the consistent power it needs without irregularities.

3 questions before you grab a UPS

If you’re not enjoying the protection of a UPS yet, where do you start? Here are 3 things you’ll want to consider before you go looking.

What I.T. assets are you using?

A single PC is a lot less burdensome power-wise than a full rack server or data centre. On the other hand, you may have more equipment you need to protect than you think.

Perform an audit of all your electrical (not just I.T.) assets that you want to protect. This will help you determine the sizeof the UPS you’ll need.

What does business continuity look like to you?

For some businesses, keeping the lights on no matter what (and for as long as it takes) is a top priority. Other businesses just want to be able to ride out small bumps and have the chance to gracefully shut their systems down if an extended outage occurs.

Before buying, make sure you know what kind of continuity you’re seeking and look for a unit or system that can provide that.

What’s your budget?

Yes, you can pick up a UPS for under $100 these days. And for a tiny business, that may be enough. But the old saying “you get what you pay for” still holds, and a poor-quality UPS may not be the iron-clad protection you need when a storm hits.

The Brisbane storm season is far from over, but that doesn’t mean you have to just hope for the best every time the clouds start gathering. A UPS in storm season might be something Frankenstein would curse, but it’s a vital part of any I.T. infrastructure that might save your business’ life!