Don’t let coronavirus break out your network!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


Covid-19 has caused millions of people to restrict social contact, which has put huge pressure on network providers. Last week, Google and Netflix reduced streaming quality in the EU to prevent internet outage. Facebook acknowledged that the pandemic is stretching its capacity to the limit. Several of the biggest networks were hit with crashes, including Vodafone, O2, giffgaff and EE. It seems like we are not far from an internet outage. Here is the big question, can we really afford that?


The answer is NO! People are forced to work from home. Meetings and conferences are conducted online. Moreover, to ease the stress on hospitals, patients are now redirected to telehealth services.Here are some suggestions to avoid network downtime for your business.


1. Examine your system for both external and internal weaknesses regularly. 

It is like an annual health check. Do it from time to time to determine the standard temperature of your servers, when your hard disks are reaching maximum capacity, if memory is running low, or when it’s time to update your internet connection to handle increasing bandwidth usage. Keeping abreast of your network conditions and be proactive in planning upgrades and replacing out-of-date equipment. 

This also applies to your ISP’s network. Make sure your ISP takes care of their facilities, so you don’t pay for their mistakes.


2. Opt for enterprise-level network infrastructure. 

Some businesses try to save on costs by opting for lower-grade hardware. This is almost always a bad call, since the cost of an enterprise-level upgrade is minimal compared to what your business stands to lose if your network fails. Furthermore, higher-grade equipment helps maintain reliability, meaning that your employees won’t lose productivity due to a slow connection. While enterprise-grade Internet connections used to be more expensive, the price of fiber optic cable has dropped steeply in the past few years, making it an affordable option even for small businesses.


3. Have a backup plan. 

Some businesses can manage a loss in Internet connectivity for a few hours, even if it is inconvenient. But if your business absolutely depends on having constant access, then a backup plan is the wisest option.  

First you need a backup network connection. But the backup throughput doesn’t need to be equivalent to the primary connection.  As a rule of thumb, go at least one service level below your primary connection when choosing a backup. Other than that, use a different network provider or carrier and locate it elsewhere, in case a disaster like earthquake occurs.

Secondly, you need to employ a backup power connection. Have backup power supplies to prevent a power outage from shutting you down. Connect redundant devices to different power circuits to ensure a single circuit outage doesn’t shut down a service entirely.


4. Switch to cloud or colocation services. 

Did you have your office servers hooked up to a power source without a surge protector during a massive lighting storm? What about if a tornado, flood, fire, or other natural disaster destroys your building? These events can lead to massive data loss, and while they may be rare, the likelihood of recovering your business after such an event is slim to none.

However, one crucial way to prevent these scenarios from decimating your business is not to use your business as the primary location for key documents in the first place. Cloud servers, which are housed in colocation centers, are not only more convenient and reliable due to their easy accessibility, they’re also safer.

Colocation centers usually create backup copies in diverse geological regions so that a major event, like an earthquake, doesn’t result in data loss for a client. And their buildings are structured to be able to withstand all but the most devastating natural disasters. They also employ location security to prevent data theft, and have tech teams on hand to manage any possible problem.


5. Know who to turn to when your network does go down.

It’s difficult to prevent all network downtime. Even with precautions in place, it’s not possible to predict every possible circumstance that might cause a disruption in your services. Having a good plan in place can shorten the time you spend out of service, but it won’t help you if you can’t identify the cause of your network failure. This is where a managed IT company can help both in monitoring of your network, and in responding in times of emergency.



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