Powering up when the power’s down

June 9th, 2021
Powering up when the power’s down

The long-running loadshedding schedule by South African national service provider Eskom is one of many challenges facing the country’s businesses, from small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to corporates – not to mention the effects of Covid-19 restrictions on the workplace.

The process of addressing ailing power facilities is predicted to take at least another five years, which means loadshedding is, unfortunately, here to stay.  That’s why businesses, no matter their size, need to plan accordingly to ensure that their day-to-day operations and productivity are minimally affected by power outages, especially now that winter’s here, and there’s more pressure on the power grid during the colder months (and many employees are now working remotely).

 Battery back-up and power continuity

Because Stage 2 loadshedding (the level South Africa is currently experiencing) results in the power being cut for two hours at a time, up to twice a day, it’s key for businesses to install alternative power solutions to ensure minimal disruption and loss of earnings.

These solutions include making sure that uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems are installed (such as battery back-up) that allow your business to smoothly ‘power down’ your servers and equipment until the national power supply is restored.

Risk vs. reward: choosing effective solutions

It goes without saying that it’s important to choose your UPS solutions wisely. Often choices made out of fear (or cutting corners to save on costs) are not ideal ones, and may result in wasting hard-earned money on an ineffective or unreliable ‘power solution’. An informed choice is definitely far more effective in delivering optimum results. Even if it means spending a little more, it’ll save you time and money in the long run.

What’s the risk of choosing a generic solution, you might ask? Unsuitable/inferior UPS devices can result in sudden power losses and surges that can damage or destroy expensive equipment, which would not only incur further costs but also cause unwanted interruptions to your business operations/hamper productivity.

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know

With numerous UPS options on the market, it may seem difficult for the layperson to find the ‘right fit’ for your business that’ll also be safe and effective. Choosing an effective solution is, luckily, easier when you know who to ask.

Castlerock Managed IT Services provides a variety of power continuity solutions to suit the whole spectrum of business needs, thus ensuring that no matter the issue with the State energy utility, Castlerock clients will stay ‘powered up’ and operating. These include critical systems such as:

  • Phone systems
  • Routers
  • Internet connectivity devices

How is this achieved?

  • By working with the best vendors that have local support and local equipment that’s available
  • Availability and flexibility
  • Monitoring and setting up notifications.

Will it suit my business?

Covid-19 lockdowns have resulted in many businesses having to pivot and adapt to new methods of working and staying operational. These include converting to hybrid operations where some employees work remotely while others work on-site; adapting to become entirely online; while others require some on-site work and allow employees to work from home (WFH) for the rest of the working week.

So… the short answer is yes. Castlerock will provide clients with a guarantee of power continuity through effective devices that kick in during outages. Even those employees who permanently WFH can benefit from online routers, without having to work on-site.

How does it work?

Castlerock will install a device and ensure that the network(ing) stack for the end user’s home network is powered during loadshedding, and this can be extended not only to the router but also wireless access points for Wi-Fi coverage at home through a power of Ethernet (POE) injector, which taps into the ether (network) and supply power to all the access points if the signal doesn’t reach the entire building.

Although most laptop batteries last long enough to stay powered (+-two hours) during Stage 2 loadshedding, larger desktop devices require more power, necessitating a larger solution. UPS has traditionally been used for battery back-up for surge protection and to ensure ease of powering down without sudden breaks, but this is not a one-size-fits-all ‘fix’. Effective solutions are more complex (such as battery back-up combined with an inverter that has sufficient reserves, because draining a battery to 0% regularly ages it faster).

Reach out to us

Talking to professionals who deal with power continuity issues every day (not to mention cybersecurity, cloud services  and more) will ensure you get the most suitable, effective solution for your business, rather than settling for a generic device that may let you down along the way. Powering up with a managed IT services company like Castlerock will allow you to rest easy knowing your business will navigate loadshedding without a bumpy ride.