Thursday, November 29, 2012

What happens when your power goes out?

 
Taking Care of Business
Heading into the Winter there are some things you should be doing to make sure your business is ready for whatever mother nature throws at us. One of the first things to consider is how you’re going to power your business.

 

Power Protection
Business in 2012 requires electricity, a lesson reinforced all too well in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast. One of your first tasks is to take an inventory of all of the critical systems to operate your business that require electrical power and make sure you’re ready in case of a brief or prolonged power outage.

The most obvious piece of equipment that companies protect are their servers, but I also want to encourage you to consider any key workstations including point of sale terminals, if your company has any of those. Also you’ll want to make sure that key network infrastructure is protected – that means switches, routers, perhaps wireless access points, firewalls and Internet modems or routers. Do remember to power protect your monitors in addition to the computer but be wary of power protecting printers. Printers can be a very large draw on backup power systems – only connect the ones that are absolutely essential.

While you’re walking about, cast an eye on any other equipment you really need in the event of a power outage. Once you have a good notion of what equipment needs to stay up, and how long it needs to stay up, you can determine how much power you need. If you just need to keep a computer running long enough to shut it down safely that’s easy. If you need to keep industrial freezers running for days, that’s much more difficult.

There are two primary types of devices that we use to keep equipment running in the case of power problems

  1. Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) – Battery backup systems that we use to protect electronics for brief outages, between seconds and a couple of hours typically. Make sure you’re using them correctly. Despite the fact that they seem simple we’ve seen people install them incorrectly in the past and an improperly deployed UPS isn’t going to do what you expect it to.
  2. Generators – Generators are a fairly well understood technology. If you need one (or more), your primary decisions are what type of fuel to use (make sure it’s something you can get when you really need it), what size of generator to get, and whether or not you need it to come on automatically or if manual activation is good enough. Your electrician can help you get it wired up.

Summary

Don’t let bad weather shut your business down. With just a little preparation you can make sure your business will keep running and serving your customers, even if the power grid struggles.


Ben M. Schorr
Chief Executive Officer
Roland Schorr & Tower – Flagstaff Office
2700 S. Woodlands Village Blvd. Suite 300-371
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
928-526-3970
www.rolandschorr.com

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