The continued unstable electricity supply in South Africa is forcing organisations to take a serious look at how they can protect their data and other critical components in their ICT infrastructure. 

According to Andre Viljoen, product manager for Scantec, a division of Westcon SA, it is imperative that companies plan for future power outages and ensure they have the right technology in place to prevent them from losing critical data.
Recent statements by the CEO of Eskom, Jacob Maroga, warned that the pressures on Eskom’s capacity were far from over. Cold weather, wet coal reserves as a result of recent heavy rains and routine maintenance have now led to Eskom recently embarked on a load shedding process to reduce the pressure on electricity output, which impacted heavily on some businesses.
“Organisations need to be aware of the risks in potential power failures, surges and spikes and need to put the necessary protection mechanisms in place,” says Viljoen. As a leading ICT distributor, Westcon SA has developed a long-standing relationship with APC (American Power Conversion), the leading international manufacturer of uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) and surge-protection products.
“The objective of a UPS is to keep your critical equipment on and alive during a power failure, to allow enough time for the user to save and backup data effectively before shutting the unit down correctly,” says Viljoen. Advanced UPS functionality includes a built in capability to detect that the power supply has been interrupted, sends a transmission to the user to save, log off and then shut down.
The size of the organization as well as its business requirements will determine what type of UPS facility they must install. “There are units that allow for normal backup, larger integrated units capable of scaling up with battery packs and finally the large units that allow for cooling, power and server protection as used in data centres, switching centres and server rooms,” he says.
As more emphasis is placed on protecting the organisation’s most valuable non-human asset – its data – clients are looking for a solution which is fully scalable and can be upgraded easily.
“Data protection is not only critical to the larger organizations – your smaller to medium sized company attaches as much value to their organizational data, hence it is important to understand their requirements and come up with a best-of-breed solution to meet those needs,” says Viljoen.
He believes they should find a trusted advisor who understands their business, instills confidence and can advise them on how to best protect their data assets.