Insure Yourself Against Tech Issues

In response to the replies I received in response to a tweet I posted today about what to do if you are trading and experience power, device or internet issues, I decided to write a quick post on the subject rather than reply to everyone individually.

If one of these problems does occur and you have an open position in a market/s, the consequences can be expensive. Therefore I feel that a small amount of money and time spent now could be a very good investment for the future. Consider it as a form of insurance if you will.

Now everyone’s trading set up will be different, therefore you will have to adapt and modify the information below to suit your situation with regards to equipment.

Broadly there are three problems that can happen to your trading equipment while you are trading that can leave you with an open position which will go in-play. These are:

  1. Power cut
  2. Computer crash / freeze
  3. Internet problems

Depending on the equipment you have will have a bearing on what you need to do to protect yourself.

Power cut

My trading equipment includes two laptops; one of which has a monitor attached to it so that I can extend the screen. As they are laptops, I don’t have a problems with power cuts as they will keep running on their batteries. However of course my broadband router will stop working, but I’ll get to that issue later. If you have a PC or iMac however, it will stop working, therefore I would suggest purchasing a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). This is basically a battery which sits between your PC/iMac and screen/s and the mains socket. If there is a power cut, the UPS will keep your devices running long enough for you to get out of the trade before the battery runs out. The size of the UPS battery will depend on the length of time your equipment will run before the battery is drained. When there is a power cut the UPS will make an audible sound so you know that there has been a power cut and that it is now providing the power.

Computer crash / freeze

If you only have one PC/iMac then your only real option is to re-boot your system as soon as possible. An alternative is to get your hands on another PC/iMac and screen, however I would advise purchasing a laptop because then you will not need to purchase the UPS as explained above. On this second device, install the trading software you use (I use Bet Angel, and they allow you to use their software on multiple devises at no additional cost – I’m not sure about other trading software providers) and have it logged in to Betfair in the same way you do on your primary device. As you place trades on your primary devise, you will see the activity on the backup devise, so if the primary device crashes / freezes you can carry on trading on the backup. The backup device does not have to have all of the functionality as your primary device, as long as it can allow you to get out of the trade.

Internet Problems

Unfortunately, the only way round this problem is if you have a mobile 3G (or better) signal in your area. The idea being that if there is a power cut (so your modem will obviously not work) or an internet problem, you can use your mobile phone as a modem by ‘tethering’ it to your trading device. This can be done by either using a USB cable or by using Bluetooth. Depending on your mobile and your trading devise, this will be done slightly differently for everyone. I use Bluetooth, which involves ‘pairing’ my laptops to my mobile which is a one-off process. I then went to Control Panel (sorry Mac users, I don’t know where you find it on your platform!), found my mobile under Devices, and created a short cut of the icon on my desktop. At the beginning of each trading session, I ensure that my mobile and laptop are connected by Bluetooth and then they are ready to work together should they be required to do so. If there is a power cut or internet problem, I then right click on the mobile icon I placed on my desktop, go down to ‘Connect using’ and click on ‘Access point’. Again, sorry Mac users, due to my lack of knowledge of iOS you will have to work it out yourselves, however I’m sure the process is pretty similar! My laptop will then be using the data through my mobile and my trading software will start working again, giving me enough time to exit any open positions I may have.

What I think is really important is that you practice what to do in the eventuality of one of the three problems above occurring. I think you would agree, for most people they do not happen often and in a way, that can be a problem. You might go a whole year without one of the above occurring, but when it does you need to know what to do immediately. Therefore I have put into my diary that on the first day of each month I will practice the procedure above for the internet problem so that I don’t forget how to do it. Similar to the way a company might have a fire drill each week.

I hope this helps.


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