In a networked world, connections count!

Russ Levanway, CEO, Tektegrity

Has your business calculated the cost of sending everybody home for an afternoon? How about if you disbursed them all to coffee shops throughout town to use the wifi? There’s travel time, beverage costs, and oh, yes, all those lost hours of productivity, sales and earnings. Not to mention all the catch-up time you’ll face, which could lead to overtime and damaged relationships with customers and vendors. If you’d like a moment to do the math, we’ll wait.

Welcome back. You look scared. That fear is justified. Every day, businesses suffer huge losses due to internet access outages. You’d think organizations operating online and in the cloud would take precautions against such a thing, but many don’t consider it until they click “send” and nothing happens.

Some who do think about the risk aren’t sure what to do about it. Outages aren’t frequent enough to spend hours on research, and the most obvious options can sound expensive.

We understand that not every business needs two forms of high speed, high cost fiber connectivity to operate and minimize downtime. But it’s important to know that there are affordable options available for businesses of all sizes and their varying needs.

Do you have an onsite network? Do you store things in the cloud, operate in the cloud, or rely on off-site servers? Are you using a file sharing or storage service? Do you use hosted applications such as QuickBooks or SalesForce? Do your clients count on being able to send and receive files? Do you use email for corporate communication? Do you process orders and payments online? Do you accept orders, pay bills or bank online?

Being offline just isn’t an option anymore. A business-class data connection as your primary solution is crucial to your business. In addition to having the right class of service to meet your speed and bandwidth needs, accessible customer service and prompt response times are essential. While large and small providers may share the lines delivering the service, most outages aren’t caused by problems with the lines. Each provider owns and operates its own network, including switches and routers, where most problems occur.

A secondary connection doesn’t have to be super-expensive, and it can be a cable internet account, a DSL line, or a mobile carrier plan.  Your IT provider can configure your internet connections to seamlessly transfer between providers if access from your primary provider becomes unavailable. The right solution can be determined by your IT professionals after a review of your needs and usage.

If having a reliable primary connection plus a backup secondary connection seems expensive, take a look at that calculation you did earlier. Ouch. Now, think about this: Do you regret the money you spend on seatbelts, bike helmets, spare tires or liability insurance? Backup internet service is definitely on the list of things that are better to have and not need than need and not have. Even if it’s not as fast as your primary service, a second connection can mean the difference between moving forward and standing still. Kind of like that funny little tire in your trunk.

Outages can be frustrating on many fronts. We work with large national providers as well as smaller local companies. We value our relationships with local internet service providers and have been impressed with their friendly, responsive service.

When reviewing your options, don’t be shy about asking your IT pros for help. Because they are familiar with your business and its technology needs, you can rely on them for honest, accurate and budget-friendly answers.

Don’t wait until your next internet outage to make the call. It really does pay to be prepared.

Russ Levanway is the CEO of TekTegrity, an IT Managed Services Provider serving the Central Coast and Central Valley. The organization’s Total Systems Management™ (TSM) service model provides preventative IT support at fixed monthly fee levels. For more information, visit www.tektegrity.com.