Backup Systems

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We have recently updated some of our technology at Wizard and thought it would be good to share our ideas with you, the systems we have in place if our computers, internet or power fail during the trading day.

If you are an active trader then you will no doubt have been in the rather annoying situation where the internet drops out mid trade and you are frantically trying to call your broker to manage your positions. With the large majority of trading being done through online platforms it has become increasingly important to have backup systems in place to handle just such an event. We have a number of systems in place to deal with failures in the telecoms network and the power supply.

First of all, we installed an APC 1400 va backup power supply. If there is a power cut, our computers, router and a few screens will stay running for about 20 minutes on the battery before turning off. This allows us time to fire up the backup laptops we keep handy and shut down the machine properly. This Un-interuptable Power Supply or UPS cost just over £100 and gives ultimate piece of mind for power cuts, surges or if you are trading at home, the fusebox trips out. Imagine your system going down just at the moment you are about to execute an important position! There is loads of research material online to give you an idea of which size unit to buy, but for a single PC and a couple of monitors we found 1400 va would do the job quite nicely. Remember your not looking for something to keep you running all day, its to protect for the short term until longer term alternatives can be fired up…

The backup laptop we have in place is a fairly inexpensive HP Pavilion, with an AOC-usb powered, 17″ screen to add some extra screen real estate without requiring power. This gives us around 6 hours trading time which is obviously plenty of time to make even more robust arrangements (although we would like to think power outages wouldnt last for 6 hours!). This kit cost under £500 and has proven to be worth its weight in gold, literally!

Having tackled power issues, we then need to look at internet connectivity. At home we have had second phone lines installed with ADSL connections (the main connection being superfast fibre optic), this helps to keep the potential for both supplies failing to a minimum. Obviously they are with different providers and use completely separate circuits. In the office we have gone for an Auto failover router (A Draytech Vigor 2760n) which automatically switches to a 4G dongle connection if the primary internet connection fails. This has proven to be perfectly fast enough for trading ( bearing in mind its low latency we are looking for here and not high data demands). The last resort is that our mobile phones can act as WIFI hotspots using their 4G data connection and transmit this to a wireless receiver plugged into the pc’s. The failover router cost about £120 and the dongle was another £20. We have a subscription to a 4G sim at £5 per month which is more than enough to keep us trading for hours of downtime.

In summary we would have to experience simultaneous failures in the main telecoms lines, and at least 3 mobile service providers before we would be unable to get online. Our opinion is that if that were to happen, we would be preparing for Armageddon and not worrying about our positions in the market! If you leave out having a fully charged laptop sitting in a drawer, for a UPS, failover router and 4G dongle/backup broadband, you are looking at an initial outlay of about £250 and then a monthly cost of somewhere between £5 and £20 per month. If you are serious about trading make sure you implement some backup procedures because its not really a question of IF, rather when you will get a failure of one of these systems. One of our recent trading course delegates, had a loss of his internet connection which cost him nearly £500, we reluctantly pointed out that he would have needed to invest about half this to build a fairly strong resilience to such an event.

If you would like any more information/advice about setting up backup systems, please get in touch with us at info@wizardcapitalmanagement.com

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