How to protect your business from internet outages

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In today’s digital age, businesses rely heavily on the Internet for various aspects of their operations. A smooth and uninterrupted internet connection is essential for productivity, communication and customer satisfaction. However, Internet brownouts, temporary reductions in network quality, pose a major threat to businesses. It is critical to examine the causes of Internet brownouts, their impact on businesses, and strategies to mitigate their impact.

What Are Internet Brownouts?

Internet brownouts are periods of sub-optimal network performance, also known as “unusable uptime”, that can lead to slow browsing, poor video quality, and dropped connections. Unlike internet blackouts, where the connection drops completely, brownouts are characterized by a temporary decrease in the quality and speed of the internet connection. These disruptions can last from a few seconds to a few hours, causing various inconveniences and potential losses for businesses. Without access to strong internet connections, your business may struggle to meet the demands of both users and employees, resulting in lost production and revenue.

Related: How to Bulletproof the Internet Connection in Your Office

Why Do Internet Brownouts Happen?

It can be frustrating to encounter an internet brownout, and there are several reasons why this can happen. Internet brownouts can occur due to several factors, including:

  1. Network congestion: The internet relies on a huge network of interconnected devices and servers to facilitate data transfer. As more users and devices connect to the internet, the demand for bandwidth increases, leading to congestion and reduced network performance.

  2. Infrastructure limitations: Legacy network infrastructure and outdated equipment can struggle to handle modern Internet traffic and demands, leading to bottlenecks and power outages.

  3. Cyberattacks: Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks aim to overwhelm targeted servers or networks with an influx of traffic, causing performance degradation or complete downtime.

  4. Natural disasters and human error: Events such as earthquakes, floods or accidents can damage the network infrastructure and cause temporary internet outages.

  5. Maintenance and upgrades: Routine maintenance and upgrades of the Internet infrastructure can sometimes lead to temporary outages or reduced performance.

Regardless of the cause of the internet outage, it can have a significant impact on your business, so it’s critical to plan accordingly.

How internet outages affect your business

Internet brownouts can have serious consequences for businesses. The nature of the impact will depend on the severity of the internet outage and the specific requirements of your business, but some of the main impacts could include:

  1. Lost Productivity: Slow internet connections can hinder employees from accessing cloud-based services, collaborating or performing their tasks efficiently. Lost productivity can lead to missed deadlines, frustration and increased costs.

  2. Decreased customer satisfaction: In a world where customers expect instant access to information and services, internet outages can lead to slow response times, dropped connections, and unsatisfactory experiences, causing customers to lose confidence in your business.

  3. Lost income: Online sales can be seriously affected by internet outages, as customers may abandon their shopping cart or experience transaction errors. In addition, businesses that rely on real-time data or remote services may face significant operational challenges during brownouts.

  4. Reputational damage: Repeated instances of internet outages can damage a company’s reputation as customers and partners may view the company as unreliable or unprofessional.

To mitigate the effects of an internet brownout, it is crucial to develop a comprehensive strategy. By being proactive, it is possible to prepare for such a power outage and keep your business on track.

Related: 4 tips to optimize your office network infrastructure

How to prevent internet brownouts from affecting your business

To minimize the impact of internet outages on your business, there are several strategies that can be helpful. Some of the best examples are:

  1. Invest in robust network infrastructure: Upgrading your network infrastructure, including routers, switches, and cabling, can improve the stability and performance of your Internet connection. Investing in quality equipment and working with a reliable internet service provider (ISP) can help prevent brownouts.

  2. Implement network redundancy: Diversify your internet connections by using multiple ISPs or alternate connection types such as wired and wireless options. This redundancy can ensure that if one connection is affected by a power outage, your business can continue to operate with minimal disruption.

  3. Upgrade your hardware: Invest in high-quality hardware to ensure reliability and avoid costly network outages. In addition, enterprise-level internet connections have become more affordable with the drop in fiber optic cable prices, making them a viable option for small businesses.

  4. Optimize Bandwidth Usage: Implement Quality of Service (QService) policies to prioritize critical business applications and limit non-essential traffic. For example, encourage employees to avoid high-bandwidth activities, such as streaming videos or downloading large files, during peak hours.

  5. Develop a disaster recovery plan: A comprehensive disaster recovery plan can help your business respond quickly and effectively to internet outages. This plan should include guidelines for employees, alternative communication methods, and backup systems for critical data and applications.

  6. Consider using a Content Delivery Network (CDN): CDNs distribute your website content across multiple servers in different geographic locations. By serving content from a server closest to the user, CDNs can help reduce the impact of network congestion and improve your website’s performance during internet outages.

  7. Use an emergency power connection: An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) provides backup battery power to your IT systems, ensuring a seamless transition to battery power in the event of a power outage. For extended power outages, consider investing in backup generators.

  8. Moving to cloud or colocation services: Protect your business from data loss due to natural disasters or power surges by moving critical documents to cloud servers or colocation centers. These facilities provide enhanced security, data backup in various geological regions, and technical support to resolve potential issues.

Internet brownouts are an unfortunate reality in today’s digital landscape. While it may be impossible to eliminate them completely, businesses can take steps to minimize their impact by investing in robust network infrastructure, implementing redundancy, and adopting bandwidth management best practices. By being proactive and prepared, your business can continue to thrive even during temporary internet outages.

Related: 12 Surprising Office Wi-Fi Killers

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