Are You Offering Your Customers Power Protection?

June 03, 2011

By David Sims - Power Protection Contributing Editor

Bill Allen, director of marketing of Minuteman UPS/Para Systems (News - Alert), a leading provider of power protection technologies, makes an excellent point in a recent blog post that is surprisingly overlooked today: As a network manager, you should be thinking about your customers’ power supply as much as the rest of their computing needs for power protection is of the utmost importance.

It’s all about IT today, and IT is all about good ole’ electricity; no business of any consequence can function without computers, physical and IT security, and dozens of other electrical devices. Therefore, power problems become security problems, production problems and – worst of all – financial problems.

What you need – and what you need to convince your customers they need, because they do – is an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), a form of power protection. If a company pooh-poohs the need for it, go over to their offices, throw their main breaker switch and ask if that’s a problem.

But chances are that your customers won’t question the need for backup power, just the best way of achieving it. A recent Frost and Sullivan survey of SMB IT managers shows that 75 percent say they are seeking at least one hour of battery backup time for their security system, and 55 percent want at least two hours, with a surprisingly healthy 44 percent wanting “more than four hours” of emergency backup.

Since odds are good that your customers want a UPS, a power protection company should make sure that its taking this concern seriously and addressing it.

Moreover, don’t assume that your larger customers are going to be more keen on a UPS than your smaller companies pinching pennies. Blackouts hurt smaller companies more than they do the bigger ones, which can afford to absorb a few shots that would sink smaller ships.

Plus there is the basic act of getting in and out of the building. It’s something we don’t think of, but what are your customers’ access control systems powered by? When the electricity goes off, as Allen says, “entering or exiting facilities can be a challenge, and most building entrances will not be secured at all by the access control system during the outage.”

Allen runs through some of the more common ways users address their UPS needs. The basic tradeoff is that the larger capacity UPS you have the larger the demands need to be.

“A small electrical load on a large UPS can reduce battery efficiency and actually shorten backup time,” he explains, recommending a UPS that “supports external battery packs to lengthen the time the UPS is able to sustain the attached equipment.

And of course you need to sit down with your customers and hammer out just how mission-critical which equipment is and how much backup time they need. Minuteman’s www.SizeMyUPS.com tool can help with this.

The power protection company asks visitors to visit SizeMyUPS and fill in their system load in Watts, VA or Amps. The configurator then provides a wide variety of UPS solutions ranging from low-end to high-end that the user should select for that system, while also providing a listing of what runtimes (or battery backup times) they can expect. 

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin

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