All businesses will inevitably experience downtime due to IT issues. Increasingly, these issues are caused by power interruptions such as spikes and surges, as well as complete mains failure. During these electrical power problems, businesses with adequate back-up power will remain protected and sensitive IT equipment will continue as usual.
How much risk can you tolerate?
As back-up power specialists, Continu’s job is to determine what each customer’s level of risk tolerance is and to design the back-up solution accordingly.
This all starts with the cost of downtime which will vary by industry. Many small and medium sized business with 150 employees or fewer, report that a single hour of downtime costs them £80,000, according to a survey by Information Technology Intelligence Consulting (ITIC). For our food manufacturing customers, this figure is likely to be much higher.
To determine what the actual cost of downtime is for a specific customer, Continu calculates the cost of lost labour multiplied by the number of employees an outage would affect. On top of that, we calculate how much revenue the company makes every day and how much of it would be put in jeopardy by a power outage. It’s not hard to see how the costs can quickly mount for businesses like retail, financial services and manufacturing.
Going through a cost-of-downtime analysis with customers will identify which type of UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) design makes the most sense. For some, a smaller unit will provide ample protection. Whilst designs that offer greater levels of protection will be more expensive, if they prevent even an hour or two of downtime, they will be worth it for many of our largest customers.
High risk industries
In Ireland, we have a number of large food manufacturing clients. Having robust back-up power equipment is critical for this sector. If a process in a plant abruptly stops, it may take days or even weeks to restart. In the meantime, products which were in production would go to waste. It is not surprising that these businesses go to great lengths to protect against power disruptions and anything else that may threaten uptime.
The importance of maintenance
It is critical to ensure that if a UPS is to work as intended, it is properly maintained throughout its life cycle.
Continu customers have several options when it comes to UPS maintenance, beginning with a service support plan. Support plans cover services such as planned maintenance visits to check items including UPS connections, filters, capacitors, batteries and fans, followed by a detailed report with our recommendations.
Certain components have an expected life cycle and our software collects data to inform the need for replacement. With this approach, our customers only replace components in danger of failing, rather than replacing the entire unit, which may be costly.
Just as UPS is intended to reduce risks associated with power problems, a service support plan mitigates the risk of the UPS failing.
If you would like the Continu team to assess your organisation’s back up power needs, please contact us for a free site survey.