A recent day-long ISP outage for a large portion of our local clients has sparked us to provide some helpful information on the topic.
Be it weather or ‘technical issues’ everyone is bound to experience an outage at some point in their existence. In the direct mail industry, it is imperative to have a backup plan since, as the old adage goes, ‘the mail must go through.’
While most businesses are sustainable enough to withstand an internet outage of an hour or two, what happens when that outage is projected to last an an entire day, or, even worse, many days?
Most businesses have a handful of associates who are savvy enough to know how to ‘make it work’ and get tasks done from other locations, for example: grab a laptop and head to the coffee shop in the next town over, or utilize a mobile internet provider (which many companies subscribe to and use on a regular basis anyhow) – but what if your entire company had to figure out how to work from a remote location because the internet was down? Even worse, what if your building was flooded or rendered uninhabitable/unreachable because of the weather? (At PrimeNet, we ensure that inclement weather will not hinder our Data Center, of course, more on that here.)
While it would be immeasurably tedious to provide a comprehensive guide on what to do in every single type of outage situation, here are a few questions that should help your business plan for that unfortunate downtime we will all incur at some point:
1. What is your method of communicating with other associates if the main office is “offline”? What about your clients or vendors? How will you contact and plan with your clients?
2. Who is the internet service provider for your business (ISP)? Do you have their contact information handy some place other than your office? How about a hard copy of their contact information?
3. Who is your email host? Is email provided by a dedicated server in your office? What would happen if your clients were unable to reach you by telephone or email for an extended length of time?
4. Who is your telephone service provider? Is your phone service tied to your internet service? What happens to inbound calls if your phones are offline?
5. Does your business’ primary operation rely on the internet in some form or other? i.e. point of sale systems, call centers, web servers, etc. How much revenue may be lost if you were forced to operate without internet service for a day? Several days?
And #1 Again: What is your method of communication if the main office is “offline”? How will you contact and plan with your clients?
A sustainable business must be able to operate in adverse conditions without internet downtime as a critical failure point. Because we never can never predict exactly what inclement weather may bring or whether our ISP will run into a snafu, it’s imperative to have a solid backup plan in place in the case of a critical outage.