In today’s episode of “IT in Plain English,” Tammy Ven Dange answers, “What is a UPS?”

A UPS or an Uninterruptable Power Supply is essentially a big battery. It’s used to power important devices like your servers and telecommunication systems in case there is a power failure.

If you have a 3rd party providing you with these services offsite, you probably don’t need to worry about that because they should have these power back-ups in place. However, if you host any of this equipment yourself onsite, this is where a UPS is really important.

Imagine a power outage in your building and your website going down too because you’re hosting it on your own server. If you have more than one location, imagine a power outage in one site, and no other site is able to access your systems or even use your telephones.

What I will commonly see is that organisations that host their own equipment do have a UPS, but it will only last for 1-2 hours. Why? Because the longer batteries are very expensive, often five to six figures.

There are a number of ways to mitigate this risk, but the first thing you should do if you are hosting your own equipment on-site is to talk to your IT manager or outsourced provider. Ask them, “What would happen if the electricity went out to all your systems?”  Then build this risk and mitigation strategy into your Business Continuity Plan.

So, there you have it in plain English.

If you have an IT question you want answered, feel free to connect with me here on my website or on LinkedIn and send me a message. I just might answer it on this show.

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Tammy Ven Dange is a former charity CEO, Not for Profit Board Member and IT Executive. Today she helps NFPs with strategic IT and data decisions.


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