Where Is Your Network Continuity?

Where Is Your Network Continuity?

By Henry Washburn

Have you ever been at the office when the Internet goes down? Or been at a restaurant and not been able to pay with a credit card because their point of sale system doesn’t have access to the Internet? Or been at a hotel and can’t get access to your online streaming services because of cruddy WiFi? I have, and it can be infuriating.

Beyond just being aggravating, outages can be costly for businesses. According to the Ponemon Institute, on average, a minute of network outage costs a business $22,000. And that’s just revenue loss. Internet downtime can also damage a business’ reputation. Recently, my mother-in-law’s restaurant lost internet for an entire lunch rush and couldn’t process credit cards. Many customers did not have cash and went to the restaurants next door. Those customers will think twice before going to her restaurant again.

Let’s talk about a place where someone likes to spend some time, for example a coffee shop near a college. Students are sitting there for hours at a time working on papers. Normally they will buy coffee, food, another coffee, etc. But then, what they think is that the Internet doesn’t work. In reality it’s the Access Point, that a portion of people used, that stopped working...but a student trying to write their dissertation doesn’t care. They moved to another coffee shop to work by the time someone rolls a truck to fix the problem. Multiply that one lost customer to 20 during that time and it means something, especially for a small business.

In the case of a healthcare provider, how can a doctor share information with a specialist with no Internet? You might say fax, but these days most fax connections are VOIP based. On a larger scale, how about a whole hospital? Google was out for two minutes in 2013, and 40% of Internet traffic stopped. That is $44,000 of cost per business tied to Google DNS! When more and more items in a hospital are becoming connected to WiFi, it becomes more important to make sure the WiFi can work consistently like in the coffee shop. How do you make sure that the wireless EKG can send data to monitoring systems at the nurses station all the time? These are questions a Risk Manager ask at a hospital that IT needs to answer.

An IT service provider’s job is to mitigate risks to a business and there are solutions! What your customers need is Network Continuity. A way for them to get closer to achieve Network Continuity is to have a second Internet pipe to the customer site, but that is not all. They would need a quick way to fail back when the Internet is back again. It starts adding cost, a second internet pipe and BGP failover? Then, you have to make sure it is from a different ISP than the original in case DNS fails too. Redundant access points?

These solutions become cost prohibitive for a small or medium business. However, there are other solutions. Check them out and reduce your customers’ risk!

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