Weather and climate-related disasters have caused tremendous damage to businesses over the years, particularly those in the United States — South, Central, and Southeast regions. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, these regions have “experienced the highest frequency and highest cost from billion-dollar disaster events.” For instance, between 1980 and 2022, the U.S. suffered 37 flooding events, nine freeze events, 162 severe storm events, 59 tropical cyclone events, 21 wildfire events, and 20 winter storm events.
The frequency of such events makes businesses highly vulnerable to operational disruptions, loss of power for extended periods, and infrastructural damage. The non-profit research group Climate Central has estimated that weather-related events have been responsible for 83% of power outages between 2000 and 2021 and that such outages have increased by over 64% in the past decade, particularly in Texas, Michigan and California. While a winter storm in early 2021 knocked out the power supply to millions of homes, a subsequent heatwave knocked out operations at six natural-gas power plants in Texas.
Frequent power outages could play havoc with your digital transformation goals
In the post-pandemic period, organizations have invested heavily to digitally transform all business functions, be it manufacturing, supply chains, products or operations. By the end of 2022, International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts they will spend as much as $1.8 trillion to achieve DX goals, with the largest investments going towards back office support and infrastructure, smart manufacturing, and digital supply chain optimization. Investments towards connected assets, enterprise and resource management, facility management, and operationalizing data and information will also steeply rise until 2025.
External factors, such as inflation and sanctions-led disruption to the flow of goods and services, could hurt the constant flow of investments required by organizations to achieve long-term goals. Similarly, frequent power outages and weather-related disruptions could prevent them from automating manual operations, optimally deploying IoT and IIoT solutions, and maintaining customer-facing applications and websites.
The cost to businesses? According to Eaton, North American organizations lose $700 billion annually to downtime, with severe weather-related outages costing the economy between $18 and $33 billion yearly. The average cost per minute of a data center outage has also risen to $8,851, a 38% increase since 2010. These costs can seriously impact their ability to transform the business and survive in the long run.
Keeping the lights on: Why a reliable UPS matters to businesses
As the name suggests, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) unit is the perfect solution for businesses worldwide to keep their lights and systems on at all times, control power surges, and prevent sudden disruption to power supply due to unforeseen outages. Ensuring a round-the-clock power supply saves costs associated with frequent downtime, protects electronic devices from fluctuations and brownouts, and keeps employees productive.
In today’s digital-first environment, every business, small or large, relies on an uninterrupted power supply to operate efficiently. However, the choice of UPS depends upon various factors, such as the size of the business, the number of devices at play, budgets, and industry-specific requirements. There are also certain considerations that may not occur to decision-makers at first but are essential from a long-term cost perspective.
Top considerations for choosing the right UPS system for your business
Here’s a look at the top considerations for IT decision-makers for choosing the right UPS solution for their businesses:
Choosing the right UPS: Choosing the right UPS unit for your business can help save plenty of running costs in the long run. For instance a best-in-class online UPS featuring ABM technology, which extends battery service life up to 50 percent. It features a double-conversion topology that enables constant power conditioning, and it can be equipped with additional battery packs for extended runtime.
Choosing the right network card: Network cards allow for secure monitoring and control of UPSs by connecting them directly to the network. This connectivity is the conduit for your device’s data and information, providing status alerts and remote capabilities.
A modern network connectivity card, such as the Eaton Gigabit Network Card (Network-M2), keeps IT administrators abreast of potentially disruptive power-related events affecting their networks. The Network-M2 features strong encryption, a configurable password policy and X.509 Public Key Infrastructure compatibility. Eaton’s dedication to security is demonstrated by the fact that their Gigabit Network Card and Industrial Gateway Card are the first UPS connectivity devices to meet both UL 2900-1 and IEC 62443-4-2 cybersecurity standards.
Ensuring UPS-generator harmony: A UPS unit protects against power surges, outages, brownouts, and fluctuations, but it cannot provide power indefinitely. An ideal solution for businesses is to combine their UPS units with a backup generator that can supply enough power to keep systems running during outages. Eaton’s dedicated staff can help IT choose the right generator for their needs, assess the generator frequency, align it with the UPS topology, choose the right governor, and consider the right fuel source.
UPS maintenance: Considering how important a UPS unit is for a business, ensuring its reliability should be the foremost priority for IT teams. Eaton’s dedicated professionals can help IT seamlessly incorporate a maintenance bypass to increase the reliability of your backup power system. A maintenance bypass (MBP) enables users to replace UPS units without shutting down the equipment. Automatic transfer switches (ATS) also provide power redundancy to systems with only one power supply.
Choosing the right provider: Aside from offering best-in-class UPS units and network connectivity cards, as a leading service provider, Eaton also brings in a wealth of industry expertise and know-how to help organizations choose the right UPS configuration for their needs.
Distributed infrastructure management (DIM) software, also provides the tools needed to monitor and manage power devices in physical or virtual environments. This helps IT managers remotely monitor, manage and control UPS, PDU, servers and other storage devices on the network. It also helps both enterprises and SMBs preserve key assets’ functionality by turning them off when a shutdown occurs across multiple operating systems.