Technology now forms an integral part of any office setup, and just about every piece is interconnected. Couple this with a heightened need for fast and effective communication often across extended distances and it soon becomes clear why a stable internet connection is now a must-have for any successful business. When this connection is lost - even temporarily - it can cause substantial problems, as demonstrated by a recent survey which showed that only 25% of those who were hit by internet outages last year were able to lessen the impact of their downtime by adopting tasks which did not require internet usage. The issue isn’t just one of productivity however; this downtime carries a financial burden too.

Business Matters reports that when internet connectivity is lost, 38% of businesses are forced to halt everyday operations. 13% of businesses immediately begin to lose money in the wake of an internet outage, while 46% take this financial hit after four hours of downtime; considering the average wait time for normal internet service to resume is estimated at around six hours this downtime comes with quite the cost for the economy.

Larger companies will of course be hit harder as their transactions and turnover tend to be more significant, but businesses of all sizes share this burden. You can roughly estimate the extent of this loss by multiplying the average downtime hours per business by the cost per productive hour lost.

Experts estimate the average annual loss per business to be as follows:
  • Solo (1 person) – £41
  • Micro (2-9 people) – £527
  • Small 10-49 people) – £3 ,950
  • Medium (50-249 people) – £15,670
  • Large (250+ people) – £497,433
There are many potential causes of an internet outage, and while some such as infrastructural damage or malicious outside attacks may be out of your control, there are measures you can take to reduce the likelihood of outages in general.

Suggested preventative measures include, first-and-foremost, ensuring that all routers are properly connected; a simple yet surprisingly-common mistake. You should also make sure that your chosen connection is a suitable one – for example all too many businesses rely upon a cheaper residential connection that is not at all fit for purpose.

Of course your requirements in terms of the scalability and resiliency of your internet connection with change and grow alongside your business, so frequent reviews are highly recommended. Also, keep an eye on the market for any emerging products or services that may be beneficial to your business.

As previously mentioned however not all issues are entirely avoidable, as so it is important to have a back-up plan in place in the form of a secondary connection from an alternate provider. This will allow you to seamlessly switch over and continue daily operations in the case of a serious outage, more than justifying the cost over time as no connection at all may leave you out of contact and risk drawing the ire of your customer base.

Of course this back-up option, particularly among smaller businesses, may not always need to be a wired broadband line. 4G data from a mobile phone hotspot is not a viable option in the long-term, or the short-term really (trust me I’ve tried), but there are decent middle-ground options between the two such as a 4G router or ‘MiFi’ device. These relatively low-cost solutions enable you to continue with smaller internet-based tasks if an outage should occur, although you may have to push larger projects back until a more stable line is re-established.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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