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Loss of Internet access can bring any business to a screeching halt. "So many of our services are dependent on internet connectivity," says Russell Mickler, Principal Consultant at Vancouver, WA-based Mickler & Associates, a technology consulting firm. "Without it, we are literally out of touch." Fortunately, failover Internet access ensures your business stays online. It provides an emergency backup for if/when your main Internet connection ever goes down. Setting up a redundant line is relatively easy to do and won't break the bank.
Diversify Your Risk
Even if your Internet provider has guaranteed an enterprise grade uptime rate?one that is five 9s, or operational at .99999 percent of the time?the wait time for outage service may be higher. You can increase your uptime by purchasing a second Internet line that is completely independent from the first. So if you have a cable line, for example, consider a DSL or fiber optic line. While all of these options are wired, it is "extraordinarily unlikely for both providers to go down at the same time," says Mickler.
Balance the Load
Next, you need a device called a dual-honed router that can split communication between two different Internet connections. "You take a connection to one LEC (local exchange carrier) and plug into port," says Mickler. "Then get another provider and plug into second port. If one line goes down, then you can effortlessly move the connection from one provider to another. The router will also have a load balance feature so that if both lines are up, both can be used." Moreover, the load balancing feature can increase uptime rates as well as provide for failover service in times of need.
Technology dependence will only increase in the future and the Internet is more fragile than we like to think. Strengthen your technology scorecard by investing in failover Internet access and score one for your business.
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SooJi Min is a freelance writer and nonprofit executive based in Ann Arbor, MI. She has written on small business topics for Crain?s, Imagination Publishing and The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.