Maintaining business continuity with network power management

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Ronnie Pennington, Director of Sales for the Americas at Altronix Corporation examines how network power management ensures the consistency of an organization’s vital security systems.

The essential for business continuity

Business continuity is perhaps the most critical key performance indicator that organizations across all classifications need to sustain to maintain fluid operations.

As defined by Wikipedia, business continuity is “the capability of an organization to continue the delivery of products or services at pre-defined acceptable levels following a disruptive incident”, which can take on many different form factors affecting all or critical parts of an organization.

Whether caused by natural elements, sub-par technicians or equipment failures, there’s a plethora of situations or events that can cause a business to shut down operations.

Whatever the cause of the disruptive event, the results can be debilitating and the longer it lasts, the more severe its impact will be on the bottom line.

The ability to sustain business continuity is dependent on many different factors, and although disruptive events cannot always be prevented, it’s important to have a plan in place with mechanisms to detect them as early as possible so that operations can be restored swiftly.

This is most critical for video and access control systems that are essential to protecting people, property and assets, and in many instances are required to maintain compliance with industry or local mandates.

These systems have also become increasingly important sources of data for enterprise level operations including human resources, energy and facilities management, trafficking, production and manufacturing, and so much more.

Hence, keeping these mission critical systems up and running is an operational imperative.

Network power management helps ensure business continuity

The majority of video surveillance and access systems installed today are networked on various forms of infrastructure, providing myriad performance advantages and economic benefits.

Although many of these systems are designed and installed using similar models, each has its own nuances.

This holds true even with systems that are “blueprinted” for identical facilities such as franchise retail and quick-service chains with multiple locations.

The ability to replicate systems, even for small local businesses, is an extremely cost-effective strategy for systems integrators looking to scale their operations as efficiently as possible.

The greater familiarity with a system configuration, the faster and more profitable the installation, and the easier the ensuing maintenance becomes once the project is complete.

Yet even replicated systems and those with unique system architecture all share a single requirement – the need for consistent and reliable power.

With the continued prevalence of advanced Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches and media converters providing the foundation for security system power and data transmission, the need for network power management to remotely control devices, monitor status and report system power diagnostics is imperative to keep systems up and running properly and without interruption, enhancing business continuity.  

Consider a scenario where a device or an entire system is not operating properly or goes down completely.

Typically, the first troubleshooting step is to check the power source to see if it is operating properly, but power distribution is typically not the problem causing the outage.

The problem can be due to several different issues, which would need to be vetted on-site by a technician.

Power solutions with network communications can help to easily pinpoint the cause of the problem by monitoring all the connected devices remotely.

The information provided by a network power management solution can reduce system downtime, provide faster remediation and reduce costs, providing tangible ROI for business continuity.

A proactive and pre-emptive solution

From a daily operations perspective, end users can now benefit in several ways by taking advantage of the ability to remotely control and communicate with mission critical system components.

The sustained integrity and operation of their systems result in higher overall security, while reducing liabilities associated with system downtime and improving business continuity.

In addition, the ability to network, control and monitor all the core power and transmission devices completes the IP network communications chain resulting in truly networked functionality.  

From a maintenance and service perspective, real time data from core power and transmission components allows system administrators to quickly diagnose and resolve problems that could otherwise take hours or even days just to isolate.

In instances where a device simply needs to be rebooted, remote access allows installers to perform this simple procedure without sending a technician into the field.

Remote control, monitoring and diagnostics also make system setup, service and maintenance much more efficient relative to managing technicians’ time, costs and customer service.

Furthermore, with application program interfaces (APIs) available for customization with partnered suppliers, advanced network power management solutions enable single platform control, opening up a whole new realm of possibilities related to system design and implementation.

Remote power management also helps to prevent financial losses resulting from system downtime by detecting potential issues before they escalate further.

This is especially true in highly regulated industries like gaming, industrial and pharmaceutical manufacturing, healthcare, transportation and countless other business classifications that are regulated by strict compliance mandates.

The ability to detect and inform system administrators of an impending or active device or system failure via email or text alerts saves system administrator and/or servicing dealers time and money, improving business continuity prospects.

The sheer volume of data collected by these advanced video and access systems for enterprise level operations further documents the need for network power management.

Advanced solutions that are designed specifically to control, monitor and report power diagnostics to help resolve video and access device issues should be an intrinsic component in any networked system architecture as part of an organization’s business continuity strategy.

Considering how important data communication is to a networked system’s integration and overall reliability, it’s important to research and compare feature sets and capabilities offered by various communications solutions to best integrate power supply or transmission devices.

Important features to look for to enhance business continuity include:

  • Fast and accurate diagnostics to reduce or eliminate costly service call
  • The ability to group multiple products based on user defined parameters or to group multiple locations to delineate specific system sites and installations
  • Local or remote control of power or distribution output(s) via the network
  • Email and Windows Dashboard notifications report real-time (or delayed) power diagnostics.
  • Event log tracks history
  • Secure Socket Layer (SSL for network security)
  • Versatile programming and access via a web browser
  • Battery service reminders to ensure back-up power is available in the event of a power outage
  • Seamless integration with various video and access management platforms

The addition of network power management raises the standard for integrated surveillance and security systems on many levels – while supporting an organization’s overall business continuity plan.

Let’s just call it a win-win solution for the entire enterprise.

This article was originally published in the July edition of Security Journal Americas. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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