Does your business need a backup Internet connection?
Over a relatively short space of time, Internet has become an essential part of most businesses. When major Internet providers have outages, we all worry about if/how our business operations will be affected (eg, web browsing, email, telephone system, backup and disaster recovery solutions, cloud-based applications). Do you realise you have an Internet redundancy option that can save you a lot of stress?
Have a second Internet connection.
For many businesses the idea of shelling out for a second Internet connection that you may never use may not sit well with your financial controller. The question to ask however, is what would happen to your business if the internet stopped working for a few hours or even a couple of days? Recent outages by even the country’s largest provider demonstrate that no ISP’s are immune to outages.
The cost of a backup Internet connection needs to be weighed against staffing costs and in many cases, the backup connection can actually be used every day to relieve the strain on your primary Internet link.
The good news for businesses is that Internet connections are cheaper than they ever have been, and most firewalls purchased in the last few years have the capability to support multiple Internet connections. So what sort of connection should you be considering as a backup for your Internet?
How can the Internet fail?
To protect yourself effectively, it’s important to understand the different types of failures that can impact your business. The most common faults are:
- Simple ISP ‘internal issue’. This will be a fault within the network of your ISP and will often be resolved within a couple of hours.
- Accounts issue. Perhaps your ISP thinks you haven’t paid your bill, maybe there’s a billing dispute. If things escalate, the ISP may cut you off.
- Major ISP issue. This could be a complete failure of critical equipment within your ISP, perhaps in their main operations centre or, alternatively, of equipment located within an Exchange somewhere. Depending on availability of parts, this could take several hours or a couple of days to resolve.
- Critical infrastructure failure. This could be something like a back hoe that has inadvertently dug up a cable in your street or even an extended power outage at the Exchange. A failure such as this can take many days to recover from.
How can I protect my business?
As you may imagine, protecting yourself from some of these eventualities could be quite simple or alternatively require more significant planning.
If your business runs on an ADSL or lower end Ethernet connection, a backup ADSL connection from a different supplier would protect against the first three eventualities mentioned above. You might find things a bit slower than usual if you’re on the backup link but at least you’ll keep ticking along.
Alternatively, if your Internet is absolutely mission critical and you require protection against all eventualities then it’s most likely that a wireless connection is best for you. A wireless connection could be as simple as a 4G modem or, if higher speeds and other features are required, a point-to-point microwave connection could be your best option.
Whatever you decide for your business, the potential points of failure to keep in mind and protect against are:
- The access path (eg. Copper cable), and;
- The provider (eg. Telstra/AAPT/Optus)
If the Internet is critical to your business, talk to one of the network engineers at itro and we can help you decide what level of protection is best for you.