All infrastructures face disruption
This isn’t to say that there’s a systemic failure. Just as electricity companies have periodic outages; and just as the water system has periodic issues; and just as roads will be damaged and need to be repaired; there will always be some level of disruption in any infrastructure.
The problem is that Internet connectivity has become as critical as power and water in terms of infrastructure dependency. Loss of connectivity can cause significant loss of productivity in a business; and the reality is that outages do happen more than often with the other major services. So, it’s important that businesses have a contingency in mind.
The key for an organization is planning. The first step is ensuring that the organization’s data will not be compromised in the event of connectivity loss. Solid backups are always a foundation to any strategy, so ensuring data is protected is key. It is also possible to cost-effectively create redundant systems to ensure no loss of productivity.
Email is the primary system to protect
Email is the key productivity tool to ensure you have managed during an outage, so that you can keep in touch with customers, employees, and suppliers. With most systems in the cloud, a user with connectivity issues simply needs to relocate to ensure continual work capabilities.
With the possibility of outage on the provider’s side, such as outages with Office 365 or Google Mail, an additional layer of protection is needed. Adding a cloud-based email security solution that includes a continuity capability allows an organization to continue to work even if the primary mail system is offline. When restored, email will flow again, and productivity will not have stopped.
Many small businesses can leverage a simple disaster recovery plan by just relocating staff. Wifi hotspots abound, and in the event of an outage, staff can reconnect remotely or from home, access mail and business systems, and then return when connectivity is restored. With the addition of mail archiving and redundancy, a business can be prepared for the inevitable Internet outage; ensuring that while their systems maybe down they are not out of business.
We’ve all said at some point…“What would we do without the internet?” If you own or manage a business, I doubt you want to find out. Our world is increasingly connected and many businesses will nearly come to a halt without Internet access.
Is Your Business Internet Dependent?
With so many businesses moving many mission critical applications to the cloud (Online purchasing, Office 365, Email, Hosted VoIP phone systems, CRM and Data Backup along with many other line of business applications)…just about everything stops when you can’t get online.
What Does Internet Downtime Cost Your Organization?
Every organization and business is different but just think how much less productive your workforce will be if the online applications they use are not accessible and customers cannot easily contact them. A recent Pepperdine University study showed the cost of downtime for a small business was $4,000 per hour. According to Gartner Group, large businesses suffer a much greater cost of up to $42,000 per hour.
Here are a list of impacts to consider:
- Lost sales and income
- Delayed sales or income
- Increased expenses (overtime labor, expediting costs, etc.)
- Regulatory fines
- Contractual penalties or loss of contractual bonuses
- Customer dissatisfaction or defection
- Delay of new business plans
How Many Customers Can You Afford To Lose?
According to the American Bankers Association, 54% of all transactions are completed using “plastic”. Think of the retailer’s worst nightmare. Customers are lined up at the cash register and not able to process credit or debit cards because the internet connection is down. How many people will just put their merchandise down and go to a competitor’s store? The worst part is that they may enjoy their experience and not return to your business for future purchases.
How do you Protect Your Business?
By implementing additional network equipment and a redundant internet circuit from a second carrier, you will reduce your dependence on a single internet connection and minimize the risk of lost productivity and customer dissatisfaction.
Be Sure the Second Connection is not from the Same Carrier.
Sometimes Sales Agents simply resell circuits from a major provider. You want to be sure the second provider is not using the same Carrier, physical connection and the same Network Operations Center (NOC). If so, you will still have a single point of failure and your investment will be wasted.
Utilize Redundant Technology per Best Practices for Dependable Failover.
Work with a consulting firm to implement a solution that provides for automatic failover to the backup internet circuit in the event the primary circuit fails. If this is not configured properly, you will still experience downtime until an IT specialist moves the connection.
For a Higher Level of Redundancy and Flexibility, consider BGP.
The Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) is the routing protocol used for large networks made up of multiple independent routing domains or autonomous systems (AS)…including the Internet. When you require redundancy to the Internet, BGP presents many additional options including load-balancing, hardware redundancy, along with diversity of internet providers, and geographical areas.
BGP is much more scalable and flexible especially for large, multi-campus companies and organizations. However, it also requires a higher level of skill, experience and increased implementation costs. If not configured correctly, security and performance can be impacted. Please work with an experienced service provider with highly experienced Network Engineers when considering BGP.
Is Your Phone System Dependent On The Internet?
If you have a hosted VoIP system or utilizing a SIP connection for your on premise phone system, your business will be impacted by an internet failure.
If you add a redundant circuit, be sure your secondary connection supports your existing call volume and check with your VoIP provider on having a way to reconcile to the new IP address when the connection fails over.
Backup Power is also a consideration that shouldn’t be overlooked. Redundant circuits and equipment need electricity. In the event of an electrical outage, you will want UPS battery backup and/or Generators to provide the appropriate uptime your business requires. It’s also critical to perform scheduled tests to be sure the backup power source is working as planned.
If you would like to discuss a redundant internet circuit for your business or just review your current internet connectivity, please contact us at 360.507.8636 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re happy to offer information and options for adding an additional internet connection so your business can continue to function productively in the event of an ISP internet outage.