South African businesses must have sufficient security systems in place in order to protect their staff, their assets, their products and their intellectual property.
But, in a country where load shedding is not uncommon and unscheduled power outages occur frequently, unreliable power can cause even the most cutting edge security systems to fail, leaving a business at the risk of crippling losses caused by theft and vandalism.
How can businesses ensure that their security systems remain operational, protecting themselves and their employees against potential threat? Having a stable and reliable alternative power system in place is the answer.
“Continuity of service is imperative for businesses, small and large. They need to invest in alternative power solutions so that they never have to worry about any interruption to this continuity,” says Marco da Silva, MD of Jasco’s Power Solutions division.
“By having an alternative source of reliable power to that of the national utility provider, they not only ensure their security systems remain functional, but they also guard against power related operational disturbances.”
There are many alternative power options available in the market today, but da Silva cautions companies to ensure they select a power system that will completely meet their needs and ensure 100% uptime on all their critical systems. While generators offer a robust solution, they usually take several minutes to ‘kick in’.
During this delay, companies can lose valuable data such as video feed, and systems that don’t automatically reboot may remain off if not manually switched back on. Data integrity can also be compromised by the transfer from mains power to back up power.
Da Silva advises companies to either look to a hybrid solution which combines generators with Uninterruptable Power Systems (UPSs), covering that gap and protecting against surges, or to opt for a full UPS solution entirely.
Da Silva recommends that businesses choose a UPS that is not only functional, but intelligent too. Solid UPS solutions, such as a true online double conversion UPS, offer scalable back up power based on uptime requirements and are intelligent, mitigating data losses and minimising further unexpected power loss.
“An intelligent UPS will be able to self-monitor and self-regulate,” says Da Silva. “What this means is that it communicates with management devices and IT management centres when main power shuts down and UPS power commences. Even if the system’s batteries are running low, it will allow for a soft shutdown of any devices it powers to ensure data integrity is maintained, and will send a notification to the company’s IT management centre so that they can act proactively.”
With the frequency and unreliability of power outages, it is essential to select a UPS that has an efficient battery recharge time. Typical UPS solutions offer battery recharge times of 12 to 24 hours, but Da Silva adds that Jasco’s application engineering team has developed UPS solutions which offer full battery recharge times of as little as ten hours without battery damage.
These UPS systems ensure that businesses and their security systems remain fully operational, even during periods of multiple power outages.
“Companies must assess their requirement properly before choosing a UPS,” furthers Da Silva. “Jasco offers professional services which assist businesses to fully assess their operational needs before making recommendations based on those needs.”
He goes on to explain that companies’ back up power needs vary based on their type of business, environment and current systems. A mining company or refinery would need a very robust, industrial power system, capable of functioning competently in harsh environments, whereas a corporate office would benefit from a smaller energy efficient unit.
The experience of the power solution provider is also very important, according to Da Silva. “Power systems that work are not just a box drop,” Da Silver clarifies. “A functional system that will provide sufficient back up power to all the required devices needs to be planned carefully by people who know how they work and what they are capable of.”
Jasco has provided specialised alternative power solutions for several years, to many global companies who continue to benefit from their expertise. In more recent years, Jasco has provided a unique UPS power solution to a transport parastatal who were not only battling with maintaining their digital video recording and CCTV camera systems during power failures, but were also suffering damage to equipment caused by unclean power supply.
“Our unique solution not only ensured they never suffered another missed second of recorded video due to power failure, but also eradicated their power related equipment damage, which was costing them a lot of money.”
Proper back up power systems not only mitigate security risks by keeping systems operational on a 24/7 basis, but also save businesses money, often lost due to power damaged equipment and operational interruptions. The question isn’t really whether or not businesses need redundant power systems, but whether they can afford not to have one.