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How Do You Handle an Internet Outage in Your Small Business?

 

Consumers are well aware that Internet blackouts and service interruptions can happen from time to time. Numerous threats from natural disasters, cyberattacks, and system errors and even scheduled maintenance can easily compromise a fiber, cable or DSL network. Though consumers may be inconvenienced by the disruption in service, for business customers the results of a prolonged or even intermittent outage could be devastating. And the smaller those businesses are, and the more central the web is to their operations, the more the impact is felt.

Internet Connectivity Sits at the Heart of Most Businesses

After years of hearing about the advantages of cloud-based platforms and tools, smaller companies these days are increasingly relying on Internet access for practically every area of their business: operations, sales, marketing, payment processing, and customer service. In fact, research is showing increased adaption among smaller companies of SaaS, digital marketing, cloud-based content management and inventory management, as well as a slew of online collaboration tools and apps.

This is aside from the fact that some businesses models, like ecommerce sites, are entirely based on online transactions.

When Internet outages occur, the inability to access or record vital information, process orders, and reach out to customers, can cause businesses to lose a significant amount of revenue. It doesn’t help customer relations, either.

How Small Businesses Can Back Up their Internet Access

There are a couple of cost-effective options for small companies looking to maintain an Internet connection in the face of an outage:

  1. The first is to set up two different land-based Internet connections, such as fiber line and a DSL connection. Thus, if one goes down the other one can take over. The problem with this strategy is that land-based services tend to share the same locations. So, if a natural disaster is the cause the blackout, then both lines could be compromised.
  2. The other option is to rely on a satellite based connection, Wi-fi, that automatically takes over in the event of a disruption in service. All that’s needed is a Wi-fi modem, antenna and something called a failover router. This router detects an outage and then sends traffic from the primary connection to the Wi-fi connection. Once the primary connection is back online, the router then redirects traffic to it.

Bottom line: most small businesses and even large ones, can’t afford to lose their access to the Internet even for a few hours. But, with a little foresight a difficult situation can be easily averted.