Why your business needs two internet connections – or risks losing money

With broadband outages costing the UK economy £7 billion a year it’s worth asking yourself; ‘how much money would my business lose if I lost all connectivity?’

Connection to the internet has quickly become an essential part of any business. So, unsurprisingly, according to a recent survey, only 25 per cent of those who were hit by internet outages last year were able to mitigate their down-time by adopting tasks which did not require internet usage. However, not all businesses are so lucky; especially companies with widely dispersed departments in a variety of locations, with staff who need to stay connected.

Of course, there are various ways to get by when the internet fails. There’s the Starbucks down the road (other coffee shops are available) or tethering off your mobile data if you are lucky enough to have unlimited 4G, but these are short-term solutions that just won’t cut the mustard during major outages. This is where a second internet connection comes in, with the overall idea being that if your main service provider cuts out for whatever reason, your secondary connection is ready and waiting to take over.

Internet access may have been branded a basic human right by the United Nations last year, although with the UK’s broadband speeds and infrastructure coming in very low on the global league table, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

What might loss of broadband cost you?

Should your primary broadband service become disrupted, the cost to your business can be considerable. Everyday operations will come to a halt at 38 per cent of businesses, 13 per cent immediately start losing money following an outage and 46 per cent will suffer a financial hit after four hours. However, considering that the average waiting time for service to resume is six hours, it’s surprising that only 13 per cent of businesses switch to a backup solution.

Whilst larger companies statistically lose the most money and productive hours, the effects of connectivity failure apply to all sized business; big, small and micro. As a general rule of thumb, the average downtime hours per business multiplied by the cost per productive hour lost, will give you the estimated loss to your business.

The average annual loss per business is as follows:

  • Solo (1 person) – £41
  • Micro (2-9 people) – £527
  • Small 10-49 people) – £3 ,950
  • Medium (50 – 249) – £15,670
  • Large (250+ people) – £497,433 

How can this be avoided?

There can be a large number of reasons why an outage occurred; broadband providers themselves are not invincible, therefore malicious attacks or damage to the infrastructure is possible.

Aside from these situations that you cannot control, there are some simple actions that can be taken within your business to prevent outages:

  • Check that all your routers have been configured properly
  • Check that you are using internet connectivity that is suitable for your business purposes (this tends to be a common pitfall for many businesses, many of which opt for residential connections as they are cheaper).
  • As your company grows its vital that regular checks and audits are carried out to ensure all IT and telecommunication systems are able to deal with the volumes and are protected against outages and cyber-attacks. You can internally review the scalability and resiliency of your systems by checking your bandwidth is still suitable for the size of your business. If your business has grown beyond your bandwidth speed and size, then it’s time to upgrade – before it falls over!
  • It is also recommended to regularly review the market to see if there’s anything available that your business could benefit from. In a rapidly evolving industry there are always new features that can make working life easier and more protected.

Unfortunately, sometimes a connectivity issue will arise despite your (and your provider’s) best efforts. This is where the back-up connection comes into its own. Rather than wasting time moving to a temporary office space or rinsing your mobile data dry, a better option would be to implement a backup internet connection. What may seem like another unnecessary expense could save you a lot of unnecessary stress and money in the long run.

Depending on the size of your business, there are a handful of solutions available to help your business battle a broken broadband connection:

  • A step up from using your mobile phone data is a 4G router or MiFi device;these will connect to the 4G network in the event of an internet outage, meaning you can continue carrying out small tasks that require internet connection such as taking PDQ payments and sending emails. The cost of a device like this is around the £130 mark.
  • For businesses where a large chunk of the workload is carried out using internet connection, a second ADSL line would be a more reliable option. However, before taking this step it’s important to choose a different supplier to the one you currently receive your main broadband connection from. A second line should bring in the broadband connection from a different source, therefore if your main service provider encounters a major issue, your secondary connection will kick in.

To put things into perspective, in 2016, the cost of an outage to a business was on average £1,287. The general starting price for a second connection starts from £12.95pcm for a micro business. Weighing up the odds of an outage occurring (on average there are four outages per organisation per year) and the amount you’d lose each time, it’s evident how invaluable a secondary internet connection is.

Both new prospects and existing customers are key drivers in sustaining and growing your business. If neither can get through to you will they call your competitors? By adding a second low-cost connection you can be confident that your business will carry on as normal in the event of an outage.

By Nolan Braterman, Frontier Voice and Data