Imagine being disconnected from the internet for an hour. Goosebumps, right? Well, you are not alone. For better or for worse all of us feel the same way. Uninterrupted access to the internet has become one of the basic tenets of modern life. From gaming to learning to shopping and everything in between our entire lives have moved online.
Much like individuals, businesses, especially smaller and mid-sized ones need continuous access to high-speed internet to function smoothly. Data suggests that a whopping 71 percent of all small businesses in the U.S. have a website while almost 36 percent of them are making sales online. Experts expect dramatic increases in these figures in the near future.
In addition to online sales, SMEs rely on broadband for a host of other activities like financial transactions, marketing communications, human resource management, and much more. It is easy to envisage how downtime would wreak havoc on every aspect of these enterprises.
In the digital age, being disconnected from the internet can grind business operations to a halt. In short, a lack of internet continuity translates into a lack of business continuity.
The same principle applies to individuals. Not having a reliable internet connection can severely disrupt our everyday lives and hamper the performance of routine tasks.
Remember the TikTok, Twitter, and WhatsApp outages from last year? Remember the outrage and sheer inconvenience they caused? Well, these were mere app shutdowns and the world seemed to have stopped. Now consider losing every app in your arsenal for prolonged periods.
Moreover, it is not merely about social media and communication apps, in many cases, home automation systems that rely heavily on a fast-paced internet connection can stop functioning causing serious threats to the security of our households.
COMMON CAUSES OF INTERNET OUTAGES
Despite the deep dependency we have on the internet, losing access to it is a common phenomenon. Adweek data suggests that an astonishing 90 percent of companies have experienced downtime due to one reason or the other.
Networks are sensitive and so many things can go wrong. It could be something as mundane as your internet service provider (ISP) performing a routine check-up of their systems or something as serious as an extreme weather event damaging critical infrastructure.
Moreover, malware attacks and even faulty wiring can result in downtime. However, regardless of what causes the outage, if you are not prepared for this eventuality you and your business could be left stranded for hours.
GET A FAILOVER CONNECTION
Luckily, not all is lost and you are not completely helpless. You can take several mitigating steps to protect yourself and your organization from an internet shutdown. Having a dependable backup or failover connection is one of the easiest and most effective ways of avoiding downtime.
The idea is simple; install multiple internet connections so that even if one of them fails the other one comes to the rescue. There are several approaches to installing a failover connection. You can simply get two routers and manually turn on the second one when the first one goes down.
You can also subscribe to a dedicated connectivity backup. If your primary ISP fails you these failover services will automatically shift your system to their backup router without you even knowing that something went wrong. Moreover, as soon as your primary service comes back online the backup router will instantly go back to sleep. In other words, no hassle at all.
Moreover, most failover services offer specially designed data plans making them cheaper and more sustainable than simply getting two parallel connections.
For instance, if you have a HughesNet failover backup installed your HughesNet Internet will automatically kick in to protect you and your firm from losing time and money in the event of an outage.
A word of advice though, choose your backup provider very carefully. Make sure that you diversify. So, if you are using a terrestrial internet service (Wireless or otherwise) make sure to back it up with a satellite internet provider and vice versa. Otherwise, you risk losing both your connections simultaneously and I am sure I do not have to tell you what a big ‘bummer’ that would be.
NETWORK SECURITY MATTERS
Another important step you take to ensure internet continuity is paying attention to the security and safety of your internet equipment. This involves both protecting your equipment from physical harm as well as making sure that your router is not susceptible to a malware attack.
Install the internet router at a secure and isolated spot. Similarly, your wiring should not be exposed. Moreover, if you are using a satellite internet connection take steps to protect your dish from the weather. Lastly, make sure that your dish is installed at the optimal spot on your roof so that it has a clear line of sight to the satellite.
While these simple steps can help avoid physical harm to your internet equipment protecting your connection from hack attacks can be a little trickier and may require some level of technical knowledge. At the very basic level try to limit access to your Wi-Fi so that it is less exposed.
You can also implore your service provider to encrypt your network and install a firewall on your router. And do not forget to request a WPA3 router in place of the default WPA2 router because it is the most secure option out there. If the technical jargon feels like a little too much just remember that these three buzzwords (WPA3, Firewalls & Encryptions) can save you a lot of hassle.
BACKUP YOUR DATA
Lastly, always and I mean always be ready for the worst-case scenario, call me paranoid but when catastrophe hits it pays to be prepared. Always back up all your data onto external drives or recovery disks so that you do not lose more than you have to when the internet goes out. Setting up a parallel and independent LAN network can also be beneficial because it will facilitate internal communications even when your firm is cut off from the wider internet.
Be it work or play, a reliable and continuous internet connection is central to the smooth functioning of our daily lives. For this reason, we should be prepared for serious internet outages. Techniques like installing backup connections, ensuring network security, and data back-ups can help us avoid the worst if and when catastrophe hits.