Even if you were not a direct customer chances are you were affected by the 12 hour ComSpan outage on Thursday. Multiple businesses had signs posted stating “cash only” just for those customers to find many ATMs said “Out Of Order – Internet Issue.” Many other businesses that rely on web based servers were shuttered.
Last week I wrote about disaster recovery and plans. How does a business keep its doors open that must have the internet to run? Redundancy.
In my office our “Internet Outage Plan” was put to the test as ComSpan is our ISP (Internet Service Provider). Our plan was to turn on a wireless hotspot to at least have access to our email, calendar, and phone systems which run over the internet as well. While that part worked, we were unable to move forward with most repair work in the office and zero remote access work. The end result was pretty much a completely lost day and backup of repair orders.
Obviously it turns out that plan did not work so well. New plan initiated. This week we will be adding a second ISP to our office, with a router that has a fail over switch. Next time ComSpan goes down our router will auto switch to the other ISP, resulting in zero internet downtime.
What does that cost? Depending on which provider it can range anywhere from $30 – $80 a month. Is it worth it? That depends on your business and how much revenue and productivity you can lose in one day; for mine, absolutely. Calculate the days lost income, then figure 12 months x $50 = $600 / year. If your internet goes down more than once a year and you need internet to run your business, I think that number pays for itself.
Remember that ALL internet providers eventually have downtime, it doesn’t matter who it is. Just switching from one provider to another does not fix this issue. But by having two providers you can ensure that your doors stay open.