Surge Protectors – An Argument For Protecting Your Electronics

In today’s world we rely on all kinds of sophisticated electronic equipment; not only for our entertainment, but to fulfill the basic needs of our daily lives. With the reliance that we have placed in technology, it is imperative to protect our equipment with the proper surge protection devices.

Power surges (also known as transient voltage events), are increases in voltage that are well above the normal flow of electric power. If the duration of the increase is longer than three nanoseconds (billionths of a second) it is referred to as a “surge,” if the duration is less than that, then it is considered a “spike.” A surge can cause significant damage to electronic equipment (particularly computers and modern multimedia systems). Fortunately, you can protect your equipment by simply installing surge protectors where these appliances plug into your wall.

Surges in electrical flows have been around as long as we have had electric power, but surge protection is a relatively new development that has only been perfected in the last decade. A surge protector was designed specifically to protect power lines from over-voltages. Past electrical equipment tended to be more resilient of these over-voltages, primarily because they did not utilize specialized microchips. Modern electronics, such as computers and LCD televisions, are exceptionally susceptible to surge damage. Radio waves and electromagnetic static can carry a strong current along the coaxial lines of DVRs, plasma/LCD televisions, and other home theater equipment. There are surge suppressors made for coaxial connections as well.

Unfortunately, surges in your home power lines are undetectable; leaving unprotected equipment vulnerable to damage. However, by installing surge protectors where needed, you can protect the multiple pieces of equipment that share a common electric outlet. A benefit of something like an in-line coaxial surge protector, as opposed to traditional a surge protector, is that it can also store vital data concerning the power output of the specific equipment that it protects.

When purchasing a surge protection device, it is essential to consider the kind of equipment that you’re protecting. While traditional power surge protectors may cost less, they can ultimately cost you more in the future. By purchasing the proper outlet surge protector you are taking a preventive measure that can save you thousands, not only in terms of equipment but in data as well.

It is common today for many insurance companies to require surge protection for more high-end electronic items. It’s a small investment, offering exceptional protection for your equipment.

Justifying IT Investment

This article gives you the arguments to deploy when making your case for spending. Many of these arguments apply equally to investment in non-IT projects.

Always talk about investment rather than spending. It puts a more positive gloss on the discussion.

The following are the arguments you could use. These apply whether you want to buy a new computer or a complete business system:

Financial justifications

The easiest project to justify is one that will save you money, whether by cutting jobs or replacing outsourced costs.

Alternatively, in a growing company, the investment may allow you to delay recruitment that would otherwise have taken place.

In these cases you can put forward a case using discounted cash flow, payback or whatever else is your company’s standard for justifying investment.

However, for most IT investments, there isn’t a straightforward financial justification & you need to think around the issue a little more.

Time saving

If employing a person costs £40k per year and this person wastes an hour a day on an inefficient task, that costs around £5k per year. Saving this money can be compared to the cost of investment.

The weakness of this argument is that the £5k isn’t a real saving. Making the improvement won’t allow you to reduce the person’s hours and cut their salary.

You may therefore have to make the argument that, over time and with a programme of improvements, the cost of the finance department grows at a slower rate than its workload and that this saving, taken in combination with others, is real.

Eg, if a company grows by 20%, the demands on the finance department may grow by 10%. (Some tasks only have to be done once a month, regardless of the size of the company, so you can’t claim that demands on the department grow in line with turnover.)

If you can demonstrate that costs have only grown by 8%, due to efficiency savings, then you can argue that the finance dept costs are variable and the £5k reduction is real, although it doesn’t come in one hit at one time.

Convenience

Time spent searching for information is time wasted. Money spent on IT can reduce this inconvenience. This argument can be particularly powerful if it is senior management that are being inconvenienced.

For example, retrieving paper files from archives can be a very inefficient job. Investing in a computer and database to organise them could dramatically reduce the trouble involved in retrieval.

Reducing distractions

Sales people should focus on selling, buyers on buying and so on. These people should not be spending their time writing reports or handling data. Any IT spend that allows them to use more of their time on value-creating activity has to be a good thing.

Professionalism

Hand written documents, poorly laid out invoices, inability to reply quickly to queries. Anything like this is very bad for the company’s image and can be removed with some IT investment.

Staff motivation

Working with poor IT can be very demoralising for staff and contribute to high turnover rates. Working with the best systems makes staff feel better about themselves and the company, giving better motivation and performance.

Customer service

If a customer calls with a query on his order or delivery and the person speaking to him isn’t able to get a quick answer, it sharply reduces your chances of getting the next order. IT systems have to be able to convince the customer that he is dealing with a modern, well run company.

Competitive pressures

If competitors are taking steps forward with IT then a company may need to invest itself just to keep up with them. An example of this is the pace with which banks had to respond to the challenge posed by internet banks.

Automation & accuracy

If errors and inaccuracy are common in the company’s output, use of IT should be a way to stop this.

Conclusion

Most IT investments can be justified under one more of the above headings. If you aren’t able to apply any of these arguments, then you probably shouldn’t be making the investment.

Actually delivering the benefits used to justify the investment is, of course, a different story.

Key Points

  • Investment in IT is often needed to improve operations in the finance area
  • There isn’t always a straightforward financial justification
  • Non-financial arguments for investment can be equally powerful

Top 6 Reasons to Invest in a Mini Laptop

Today, mini laptops, also known as mini notebooks or netbooks come with almost all the features of  standard laptops. There are virtually no drawbacks to using them and in fact they are a better choice in many instances. Let’s explore the top 6 reasons to invest in a mini laptop.

Reason 1:   The most obvious feature of the mini laptop is it’s compact size and light weight. It can be easily carried and stored anywhere you happen to go. They weigh only about 2 pounds and slip easily into many purses or a briefcase. If you prefer to carry yours separately you can purchase a case designed specifically for your little computer!

Reason 2:   The second nice feature of these mini notebooks is their relatively low cost. It can fulfill the needs of all the family members without putting too much of a dent in your wallet. You can buy a “mini” for  anywhere from about $200-$500 as opposed to approximately $700-$1500 for a standard laptop.

Reason 3:   Another reason for investing in a mini laptop is the array of features they sport. most come with 3 USB ports and have many entertainment and internet options. Unlike hand held devices, that can cost just as much or more, they have a more powerful   processor, more substantial memory and more software options. Your kids can get plugged in to explore and learn about a whole range of things around the world! These small powerhouses have features for wireless devices as well as a Bluetooth device and come in a sturdy, protective casing. There are also memory cards and flash cards available for the minis. And last, but not least, there is much flexibility in the upgrading process.

Reason 4:   Mini laptops also have an impressive array of technical features. They are available with Windows XP, Ubuntu, Mac and Linux operating systems. The memory space is about 512MB to 1GB (with the option to boost it to 1.5GB – at least on the Acer Aspire). Storage space is about 60-80GB. With the Acer Aspire you get a 160GB hard drive. It is difficult to discuss all of the technical features because they can vary from brand to brand and I am the most familiar with the Acer Aspire One.

Reason 5:   The netbooks are also great for business on the go. They have basic software programs that enable the user to create spreadsheets, documents and PowerPoint presentations as well as allowing for checking emails and instant messaging. When you get a little down time you can also listen to music, browse the net, chat or take pictures. All in all quite a handy machine! It is a much easier to travel with alternative to the full size laptop.

Reason 6:   Another point in favor of the mini laptop is that it leaves a smaller environmental footprint. It uses comparatively lower battery power and it’s battery also has a long life. The smaller computers are “greener” and make less of an impact on the surrounding environment!

These 6 reasons present a powerful argument for investing in a mini laptop. Right now I only have a desktop pc and my husband owns a laptop.  We also have a 13 year old son. Our family’s next computer will be a mini laptop for sure! The only dilemma will be who gets to use it when!