Do you need to spend a fortune on surge protectors?

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The quick answer is no. Most surge protectors are based on the same technology, and how fast they switch on is similar amongst even the cheapest models. Sure, more expensive surge protectors may include extra features, such as status lights and good looks, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll protect your computer any better than a less expensive version.

Often times, surge protectors tout their joule rating as a sign of quality, but it really has nothing to do with how much you should pay. In fact, as long as a surge protector is UL 1449 rated, which means it meets Underwriter Laboratory’s standards, it will do just fine.

That doesn’t mean you should ignore the need for surge protection for your computers and other sensitive electronics. A surge protector’s only job is to protect your equipment from surges or spikes in the power supply. While lightning and outside surges are the first culprits that come to mind, spikes and surges are more commonly caused by appliances within your office like air conditioners, refrigerators and copiers.

A potentially more damaging threat is power loss or brownouts, and surge protectors won’t protect you from those. To protect your data and equipment from sudden outages and brownouts (dimming lights, power turning off and on quick), you’ll need an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). An UPS, sometimes called a battery backup, has a built-in battery that automatically kicks in when the unit detects an outage or brownout. Most UPSs also have built-in surge protection so you can skip the surge protector and go straight to the UPS.

The next time you’re looking to protect your equipment, you may want to skip the surge protectors altogether and go straight for an UPS, especially if you live in an area with frequent outages.

It’s imperative to pay close attention when it comes to your business’s data reliability, availability and security. We at OAC Technology, a Minneapolis-based IT company, can assess your power protection needs and provide a customized solution that’s right for your company. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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