Battery Backups for Data and Equipment Protection

By: Stephen J. Richards

In today's technology reliant business world, companies are becoming increasingly responsive to the need to protect and retain valuable business data. One often overlooked means of protecting against data loss and equipment damage is the utilization of quality battery backup device in addition to critical data retention and mainframe disaster recovery software implementation. While battery backup can prevent the loss of valuable data in the event of a power outage or lapse, a quality battery backup solution will furthermore protect expensive electronic equipment such as personal computers and servers from costly damage. Considering the high cost associated with data loss and equipment replacement, not just any battery backup device will suffice. Here we examine some of the factors that should be considered in the selection of a battery backup for business or home use.

First of all, what does battery backup do? A battery backup, also referred to as an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), allows equipment to safely shut down temporarily in the event of a power outage or lapse in service, but a quality backup unit also prevents equipment damage by regulating fluctuations in the flow of electricity to the equipment. Even when electrical service is seemingly reliable and consistent, variations such as spikes and surges alter the voltage level being delivered to sensitive electronic equipment. Battery backups with an automatic voltage regulation feature are recommended due to their ability to prevent such fluctuations from harming equipment in the long term.

A battery backup must be capable of accommodating the amount of energy required to power the equipment for which it is intended without being overworked. A battery backup device must have the appropriate wattage and volt-ampere ratings to support the equipment that will be utilizing it. While a single home computer and monitor may be able to get by with a basic battery backup unit, more demanding applications such as server rooms warrant a more powerful solution. Additionally, a more advanced battery backup unit will incorporate software which performs periodic tests on the device and retains the test results.

Even when an appropriately powered, self testing battery backup device is being utilized, telecommunication equipment connected directly to a computer or server poses a hidden danger. A single lightning strike can easily travel via RJ-11 and RJ-45 cables and wreak havoc on the connected equipment. A battery backup device with RJ-11 and RJ-45 protection provides a necessary layer of defense between valuable equipment and storm related surges or lightning.

Awareness of product features and voltage ratings among various products is critical to selecting a battery backup device that is sufficient for a particular application. All battery backup solutions do not incorporate all of the features outlined herein. Other factors such as whether all or only select outlets on a unit are actually battery backed and whether a device facilitates the ability to "hot swap" a battery when needed may also be considered in the selection of a battery backup device.

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