Smokey the Bear taught us, “Remember… Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires.” That’s how we feel about network issues. You can’t prevent them, but you can prepare for an Internet outage so it doesn’t take down your network and your business. No matter how wonderful your ISP, regardless of the assurance agreements they present to you about 99.99% uptime, some careless camper with a match – er, construction worker with a backhoe – is bound to spark an outage by cutting a fiber line. It happens all the time, across the country. It happened yesterday in Boulder, Colorado.
No matter the size of your business, whether you’r a solo owner/operator, a small business or a large enterprise, you probably rely on the Internet quite a bit to communicate with customers, employees, markets, for point of sale and billing and banking, for inventory and ordering, training and reporting, file transfers and more. Access to cloud applications is, you guessed it, through an Internet connection. Are you on Office 365? Salesforce CRM? Migrating applications to the cloud is cost effective and smart – provided you have a way to always access those resources.
This is why Internet outages cost businesses so much money and can damage reputations. When you can’t access online resources, work either stalls or shuts down. If you’re Starbuck’s, you give coffee away for free because your registers are down. If you’re a school, you have to cancel online testing and change lesson plans on the fly. If you’re a bank, you can’t serve your members and they get frustrated and look for a new financial institution. If you’re a law firm, you can’t file papers for clients and that causes delays and lost time is lost money.
You may even close down your business for the duration of repairs, which may take days.
On average, businesses lose between $84,000 and $108,000 (US) for every hour of IT system downtime, according to estimates from studies and surveys performed by IT industry analyst firms. Your experience may vary, but it gives you pause to consider how much you will lose during a day-long outage.
So what’s the secret sauce to protecting your business? How can you prepare for an Internet outage? It’s actually quite simple: have more than one Internet (or wide area network) connection from a different carrier whose service comes in on a separate link. There’s enough competition out there to make this possible and affordable nearly everywhere in the USA. It’s like having a Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) in case of a power outage, except that you can use your second link to supplement your network bandwidth for faster application performance instead of keeping it idle on standby. It doesn’t have to be expensive or have the same capacity or assurance agreement as your primary link, either, because there are ways to prioritize and automatically failover your most important traffic.
Be prepared! Remember…Only YOU Can Prepare for an Internet Outage.
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