Slow internet comes with hidden costs for many businesses and can be like death by a thousand paper cuts. Cloud applications take forever to load, files take longer to send, and calls are frequently dropped. All this leads to lost sales, decreased employee morale, and unhappy customers. Research shows that the average cost of downtime is approximately $300,000 per hour. This is minus the hidden costs that don’t often show up in dollar form.
Many factors impact the ability of your business to stay connected, including hardware failures, adverse weather conditions, and cybersecurity breaches. As such, the need to have a reliable network uptime is not a matter of luxury, but a necessity. If you don’t choose the right network solution, you will set yourself up for lost productivity, unprecedented financial costs, and angry stakeholders.
Unfortunately, in trying to beat the urgency of reliable network connections, many businesses respond to the situation by throwing money at a network upgrade that may not work. Undeniably, the cost of fiber internet is readily affordable, but it’s still essential to have alternative solutions for peak internet performance at all times. Consider doing the following to improve your business internet uptime:
1. Go for a Connection Type with less Downtime
Every internet connection type will suffer from downtime issues from one time to another. However, some types experience less downtime overall. According to a data analysis by Bigleaf, here is the performance of various internet connection types in percentage:
DSL – 89.243
Other Fixed Wireless- 92.473
Enterprise Fixed Wireless- 95.412
Before switching from one internet connection to another with higher uptime, keep in mind that there is still some percentage downtime you will have to deal with every 30 days. For example, fiber has about 29 hours of low connectivity speeds every 30 days. Besides, some of these connection types may not be readily available in your area. Choosing them over what you currently have may not be the solution.
2. Improve Network Monitoring Through IoT
The Internet of Things, IoT refers to an army of sensors present within a network. Their work is more than just collecting data for your company, as they can provide early signs of problems within the network. Once a problem or security issue is detected, you can start troubleshooting immediately and work towards solving the problem proactively. For serious network issues, ensure you activate the backup network instantly to take over the connectivity.
3. Build in Last Mile and ISP Diversity
If your business has multiple internet connections, but from the same ISP or carrier, you might still experience downtime when the network is experiencing issues. All your connection from that provider will be affected. However, diversifying the ISPs you have plugged into your sites gives you a better chance of routing around issues when one connection is affected. This way, you can keep your uptime as close as possible to 100%.
4. Avoid the Common Redundancy Pitfall
It also helps to think about redundancy in the last mile to your locations and offices. Separation is not always apparent, even when you have preliminary and backup networks from two distinct providers. Even with such an arrangement, it’s not a guarantee that your system network will be redundant. This happens because many carriers lease fiber from third parties to expand their network.
If both of your providers lease fiber from the same third party, it means that a single problem will affect both your primary and backup services simultaneously. Redundancy is a due diligence process for businesses, but how do you ensure your redundant networks are genuinely separate?
It all begins by asking your network providers what carrier infrastructure they use. If they lease from a third party, find out the underlying provider and request the route maps to ensure that the primary and backup providers are different for a truly redundant network.
5. Test and Improve Your Systems for Cybersecurity
Cybercrime is at an all-time high, and there is no better time to put measures in place to protect your systems and networks. Cybercriminals are opportunists and will take advantage of every vulnerability in your network to wreak havoc. They are constantly devising new ways to penetrate networks, and you, therefore, must ensure resilience by performing:
Regular penetration scanning
Training of the workforce to stay safe while browsing and emailing
It also helps to have an alerting mechanism for attempted cybersecurity threats. However, this won’t be enough if you don’t know how to react to a cybersecurity breach. Have an IT expert you can call for support when systems are threatened or shut down by cybersecurity incidents.
6. Maintain the Same IP Address When You Fail Over
Your company might have multiple internet connections where one functions as a backup, and this is recommendable. This is known as an active-passive configuration, where only one of the configurations stays actively in use. The other one only functions when the primary connection fails. The arrangement is certainly better than not having a fallback plan, but it’s not ideal.
You end up paying for a second connection with unlimited capacity for all your traffic, but you only use it when the need arises. More importantly, the active-passive configuration means you can’t conveniently move traffic between carriers or ISP without changing the IP address. When this happens, all active session-based applications, cloud-based, and internet-based platforms drop, with users experiencing downtime as you manually change your IP address.
Having a same-IP address failover configuration allows your traffic to move to the second connection automatically. This way, your customers and employees will not even notice the switch. The setup will also allow you to leverage an active-active configuration where you use both connections concurrently.
7. Consider a Partnership with an MSP
Your internal team may be too small to implement all of these factors for enhanced internet uptime. If that is the case, enlisting the help of a managed service provider will save you the trouble of constant downtime and free you from worrying about internet outages. MSPs work round the clock to keep your systems and networks up and running, and ensure they are functional at all times.
CenterPoint IT specializes in helping businesses in Atlanta improve their IT systems by taking the uncertainty and hassle out of this dynamic business area. Using a proactive and holistic approach, we aim to serve you as your end-to-end technology partner. Reach out to us today to find out how we can help your business with all IT-related issues.