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The Importance of Business Internet Continuity

There are endless types of businesses, from e-commerce to small creative agencies, to tech innovators, and more. There are nearly equally endless reasons why reliable business Internet is vital. It’s the most essential communication tool we rely upon – whether we are connecting with someone down the road or across the globe.

Reliable, fast, and secure Internet connections are crucial for so many reasons:

  • Ensuring speedy business operations
  • Providing excellent customer or user experiences
  • High-quality video conferencing (we all know this has increased in importance over the last two years!)
  • Quick Data Backup & Recovery
  • Connecting to Cloud Storage
  • Security
  • Supporting business growth
  • And the list goes on and on.

Recently, we shared some important considerations when choosing an Internet Service Provider (ISP) for your business; it’s an important checklist when considering business Internet continuity. The solid foundation provided by an excellent Internet service provider is a vital starting place. But what else can you do to ensure your business’s Internet continuity? Do you have a business continuity plan? Does it specifically address your Internet and tech needs? If not, here are some steps to take to enhance your Internet continuity strategy.

Identify and Plan for Critical Functions

Surveying your tech needs and prioritizing the aspects and functions that are critical to supporting your business is a significant first step. Critical functions could include work from home access, accepting online payments, and accessing key databases and information structures. Likely more so than other areas of your business, tech needs are constantly evolving – how many of these situations have impacted your business?

  • Think back to 2020; very few companies had the infrastructure in place and certainly no plan to entirely shift to a work-from-home environment. Now it’s commonplace, and for some, working from home is a permanent reality.
  • Consider digital payments. The rise in companies accepting online payments has been meteoric over the last decade. A recent study of small businesses performed by VISA indicated that 60% of small businesses plan to only accept digital payments in the next two years.
  • Have you migrated your data storage to a cloud computing solution? According to Cybersecurity Ventures, 100 zettabytes of data will be stored in cloud solutions by 2025. This is half of the world’s data. That’s a significant shift from the traditional methods of companies storing their own data either on or off-site.

This list will likely be different for each company but developing a thorough list of your critical tech functions will inform your contingency planning efforts.

Develop Contingency Plans

Now that you have a list of critical functions, thoroughly evaluating these functions to determine how you can minimize the risk of each is a critical next step. Are there steps and processes you can implement to reduce or eliminate each risk?

When it comes to IT contingency planning, network downtime can be one of the most frustrating aspects to plan for. Many people view this challenge as completely out of their hands. Your Internet service provider never wants you to experience downtime and ISPs are constantly developing tools that provide additional security and functionality in the event of downtime.

Options by DQE Communications offered to minimize downtime include:

  • Wireless Backup Service provides a failover solution for Internet access. This service helps businesses remain operational in the event their primary DQE Internet service is inoperable. In the event of a service disruption, DQE’s Wireless Backup provides a seamless transition to the Internet for a customer’s critical applications. The scalable, cost-effective service integrates easily within an existing network and complements any of DQE’s Internet plans (including Basic, Dedicated, and Highly Available internet), or DQE’s SD-WAN service.
  • SD-WAN (Software-Defined – Wide Area Network) is a powerful tool for smartly directing traffic and connecting offices across many locations. It’s a network architecture that many mid-size and large corporations are looking to for increased operational efficiency and support. It is a very cost-effective and reliable solution for preventing downtime. SD-WAN separates network services from the applications businesses want to use. Separating the network means the needs of individual locations can be met. It also means that you can manage all your company’s connections in one place, in real-time.
  • Network Connectivity to Cloud Solutions is an excellent approach for maintaining off-site backups. When getting back up and running after downtime, time is vital. DQE’s Cloud service provides a direct connection to cloud-service providers.

DQE Communications’ network is founded on redundancy and security, with a custom-built, self-healing core ring architecture that maximizes reliability and minimizes downtime. In addition to those above products, our 100% fiber-based foundation provides the region’s most reliable, scalable, and flexible Internet services.

Implement and Test Your Plans

Once risks are identified and contingency plans are developed, the next essential step is to execute your plan. The security and functionality options offered by DQE are solid components to a complete business Internet continuity plan but likely are not the only elements. Ensuring you have a comprehensive strategy to minimize anything that impacts your tech operations will undoubtedly be multi-faceted.

No one likes to find out that an element of their plan failed, which is why testing your plans are an important final step. Testing ensures the plan’s effectiveness, ease of operation and implementation, and most importantly, that your plan works and meets your needs. It’s also a very good idea to regularly review and test your plan to guarantee that nothing has changed, and any updated information or technology has been considered.

Interested in how DQE Communications can help you develop an effective business Internet continuity plan? Contact us today.