Today’s business world relies on fast, continuous, reliable Internet service. Loss of internet connectivity causes major disruptions to your operations, but also to your customers.
Without a reliable internet connection, most operations come to a grinding halt, and consequences are often serious.
What Can Happen If the Internet Goes Out?
Aside from the obvious issues like not being able to connect to any online services you use, downtime is the reason for substantial damages and losses that can slow you down for months on end.
Here are the five most common aftermath scenarios of downtime:
#1 Downtime Causes Data Losses and Cybersecurity Risks
When you suddenly lose your internet connection, it can disrupt data transfers, causing damages in the form of corrupt files or loss of valuable data. With the disruption of services, some security solutions might not work as well, opening your business data to unauthorized access and theft too.
#2 Downtime Results in Financial Damages
For companies within certain industries, there may be financial penalties because of downtime. Many businesses have service level agreements with their customers and breaching an SLA agreement leads to substantial payouts.
#3 Downtime Stops Productivity
Downtime will limit what your employees can do. Often, they won‘t be able to do anything at all. Once you’re up and running again, you won’t pick up where you left off.
Employees will lose hours of work to try to recover data and to determine how much work they lost. This all adds up to a massive loss of productivity.
#4 Downtime Leads to Sales and Opportunity Losses
If customers try to make a purchase and are met with a message that your servers are down, a number of them will give you a few hours to fix the issue. If the problem persists, however, they will buy from your competitor.
#5 Downtime Impacts your Reputation
You‘re well aware of how long it took to build a solid reputation with your customers. Now imagine losing it to one bad event, such as having servers down during peak time, such as seasonal shopping events.
A survey done by CA Technologies found that half of the 200 businesses surveyed said their reputations suffered because of downtime.
How to Prevent and Mitigate Damage Caused By Downtime
There’s a simple way to tackle the issues above: have a business continuity plan. Such plans help avoid and mitigate risks that can disrupt your business operations.
Your plan should provide clear guidelines on how to react and solutions that will minimize the impact and keep your operations on track. Here are some things related to downtime and internet connectivity issues that you should include:
#1 Try to Troubleshoot the Modem or Router First
There are three reasons why internet outages happen:
- There’s something wrong with the modem or router
- There’s an issue with the wiring between your office and the ISP, or
- There’s an issue with the ISP itself.
In case of downtime, always start with the simplest and fastest fix: look at the router or modem in your office.
A simple reboot can often fix these problems. Unplug the device for 30 seconds and then plug it back in. Give it a minute to boot up and reconnect. Check to see if you can connect to Google or another major website. If nothing changes, it’s time to call your ISP.
#2 Have a backup solution for Internet access
Never rely on a single solution for your internet connectivity needs. Your ISP might have good uptime, but one major disruption is enough to bring you to your knees.
Instead of putting your company at unnecessary risk, invest in a backup solution in case your main access point is down.
For smaller businesses with just a few employees, using a cell phone as a mobile hotspot would work as a temporary fix. While you can’t rely on this method long term, it can get you through an outage with minimal disruption.
For a long-term solution, small and large businesses should invest in a backup router that connects to 4G cellular networks for Internet connectivity. When the main line goes down, everyone connects to the 4G router as a backup.
This solution is soon getting an upgrade too: The emerging speed and reliability of 5G technology make it a perfect backup network for businesses.
As 5G continues to expand, better mobile solutions and substitute wireless routers will become the norm.
Some countries, however, are talking about delaying the deployment of 5G technology because of safety concerns. They want proper testing before deploying the technology on a larger scale.
For now, invest in 4G and prepare for 5G.
#3 Invest in a backup solution to save data in real time
Continuous data backup will minimize the number of data losses or damages. Whenever your employees change files and data, the backup service automatically saves these.
This way, you will always have the latest version on your backup system. This makes it easy to retrieve information saved before the outage occurred.
#4 Switch to cloud or co-location services
Another option is to store your data in another physical location. You can do this in two ways.
Cloud computing involves running your software and storing your data on virtual servers hosted by a third-party provider. Your employees access the systems via the Internet. If the Internet goes down, they can go to another location that has access and continue working. The data is safe and sound in another location so the impact to it is minimal.
Co-location involves moving your physical servers, that you own and control, to a third-party data center. Using third-party data center solutions from providers such as 4D Data Centres can offer your business increased data security.
#5 Train employees on how to react
Will your employees know how to react if the Internet goes down? If the answer is no, you need to get them trained as soon as possible.
Planning a backup solution is great. But, if your employees don’t know their role in implementing that solution in the middle of an outage, all of that planning is worthless.
Have clear and defined steps about who does what, who to report to and which operations should be re-established first.
Have a continuity plan, because it’s better to be safe than sorry
A single outage can severely hurt your company’s reputation. Every minute your business is down because of an ISP outage, it can cost you thousands of dollars.
Your employees cannot be productive and it will frustrate your customers. Taking steps to prevent and mitigate such an outage is essential for business continuity.
What steps are you going to take to protect your company from such an outage?