IT Insight: Safeguarding the ISP and Company Peace of Mind

Like your home, you can’t always rely on the power that is always on. You have this generator just in case. There are times when the internet is going to go down from your carrier. It could be weather conditions, a disconnection on your end, a fire, but you need peace of mind knowing your circuit is up and running and business going.

If your staff can’t access the resources to serve your customers, they won’t have a great customer experience. Losing email, VoIP, CRM, business applications can cost you thousands of dollars per hour if you’re down. You want automatic failover to the backend like your home generator. If the primary circuit fails, failover protection keeps you awake and ready. No downtime, your power is always on.

Since most businesses operate through software and online applications, downtime results in a huge loss of productivity for your business.

However, there is a preventive solution to deal with breakdowns. A secondary internet connection can be set up before you experience any downtime. This backup ISP or backup redundancy service is a safety net, not required unless your primary connection fails. Easy to install and ready to use, it will minimize your losses and downtime in the event of a breakdown.

The advantages of Backup ISP are numerous. Internet interruptions of any kind are difficult. Irregular service and slow speed are sufficient reasons for efficient and timely redundancy. It allows a plan without waiting for your ISP to recover you. A solid internet backup plan will determine your level of customer service, your top priority while staying on budget.

You will need to get a redundancy circuit, a second connection entering the company from another operator. Many options are available such as Firstlight, Consolidated, Comcast, Spectrum, Verizon. Your location will determine which one to use.

How does a company choose a second carrier? Your managed service provider will assess your work environment to understand what your current internet usage is. Some corporate IT traffic is transaction-heavy than others with many applications and users, both remote and in the office, with lots of inbound activity on the server. For example, you can have a lot of research and development or CAD work. You have to really understand the Internet environment; your company’s culture using the internet and a list of all applications, whether on-premises or in the cloud, are listed. Also, how many users are on this network? How often are you down and what are the causes? All of this determines your provider’s options.

What do you need to use a backup ISP? Start with a professional firewall. Many firewalls are only able to handle a single incoming ISP circuit. A dual WAN connection, or edge router, is a device that allows two services to enter this firewall. Each company provides its own managed edge router. The right switches in place allow Internet traffic to flow efficiently. If you have an older 10/100 switch, your performance will lag like using a gigabit switch. Imagine driving on the first road, against I95 in a traffic jam. The key is the business class firewall and edge router recommended by your vendor.

As part of your backup plan, test your backup ISP quarterly or during a reset so you know it’s up and running when you need it.

Cost control for business differs depending on your needs. If you need a double wired circuit, you will pay more. But think of this investment as insurance. If you use a wireless option like Verizon, your business will only pay for it if you use it, giving you flexibility and savings. You pay the nominal fee to have this type of backup in place and available for use as needed and pay a nominal fee if necessary, for peace of mind.

A hard-wired solution is usually at the pole of your building through an ISP like Consolidated, FirstLight, Comcast, Spectrum bringing this service from that pole to your building. If a pole is hit or falls, your ISP is down. There is nothing you can do about it except wait for the repair. Take the hard line out of the equation and depend on wireless. You have to consider what the building looks like and what the coverage is. For example, what is your mobile phone coverage in your building? Even if it is not strong, an external antenna can also improve your signal.

Your Managed Service Provider, like PCG, has strong relationships with many carriers and is well-versed in working on your behalf regarding your continuity plan with the performance you need.

Connectivity and time matter. Choose a trusted partner in the event of a network failure! PCGiT.

JoAnn Hodgdon is Vice President and Co-Founder of Portsmouth Computer Group (PCGiT) with her husband David. PCG provides its customers with comprehensive managed IT services, business continuity, security, cloud computing and virtual CIO services. You can reach her at [email protected] or at