Your ISP has a break in a connection somewhere, due to a faulty device. A severe storm has taken out a line close to your business and you are now going to be without Internet connection for a few days before it get’s fixed. Outages such as this convey to all businesses – not just the affected ones – how dependent they have become on Internet access and how vulnerable they are to disruptions. A few hours of downtime – even outside normal business hours – could mean thousands of dollars in missed opportunities and lost customers. But how can you ensure you’ll have an unbroken connection?

A growing number of professionals, as well as companies of all sizes, are buying redundant connectivity: multiple paths to the Internet. If cable modem service, DSL, and/or wireless broadband are available in your area, you may want to subscribe to at least two of these services. If not, you are setting yourself up for disaster by putting all of your eggs in one basket.

But how do you configure your equipment to shift quickly and seamlessly to another connection? Most computers and SOHO routers cannot do this, so unless you have the right hardware or software, you have to reconfigure manually which could cost you considerable downtime.

What’s more, if you’re paying for multiple connections, you should be able to use the extra bandwidth in nonemergency situations. You should be able to exploit all your lines simultaneously (load sharing) to get more bandwidth than you could from any one of them by itself. There should also be a way to shift loads when one of your connections is slowed through congestion. You may even want to steer users accessing your servers to the “closest” connection, Internet-wise, to them. But how do you do all this? You’re not likely to find any help in the documentation for your operating system or small router/firewall.

If you’re a typical small-business user, you’ll need to find a way to get these features without the help of your ISP(s) or special protocols. Fortunately, there are devices available to let you do this.

Even if your office doesn’t host anything that you think of as a server – for example, your Web site – server redundancy features are still important in the event of an outage. Why? Because many of the applications you may use every day – VoIP, peer-to-peer, remote-control programs (like GoToMyPC), VPN, file-sharing programs, and more – cause your system to accept data connections from the outside world and thus act like a server. If machines in the outside world can’t “find” you, you may lose your ability to do your job.

If your business relies heavily on it’s Internet connection then you are a good candidate for a redundant Internet connection. Contact us today and ask us how we can help you have peace of mind knowing you will not be without your connection for days on end.