Nearly every businesses today has turned to the cloud for mission critical functions. The cloud handles your internal and external calls and communication, your point of sale, client service, inventory management, file-sharing, and productivity programs.
The cloud is great, right? But, what happens when you can’t access that cloud? All those mission critical functions grind to a halt and with it, your business. Even momentary lapses in Internet service can result in hours of lost time, missed opportunities and the slow erosion of client trust.
Many businesses are lulled into a false sense of security when all systems are go, but a disaster may be lurking in any of the interconnected parts that must work to ensure Always On Internet.The following elements must be considered if you are to ensure your business is always on and always connected. (You’re only as strong as the weakest link in the chain.)
Your Infrastructure Must be Resilient
The best Internet connection can only get you so far if your infrastructure isn’t in working order. You want to make sure you have the correct equipment to keep your business up-and-running. When doing this, try to anticipate any and all potential points of failure. There are several things to think about when evaluating your infrastructure:
- A resilient switched fabric local area network between your hosts and your storage – A lot of internet connectivity issues can be avoided by making your internal network more reliable and resilient. To make your network more resilient, you may want to consider a plan for backup power in case of blackouts or brownouts, limiting access to the physical parts of your network setup to avoid human error, and putting a plan in place to regularly check up on and repair aging hardware.
- Redundant routing to your service providers or other third parties – Most businesses have just 1-2 routers, but you’ll want to make sure you have multiple upstream connections to avoid issues from one service provider. You want to have a backup plan in an easily accessible configuration to avoid downtime when switching between your primary and secondary service providers, and primary and secondary routers and equipment.
- Redundant firewalls – Finally, you’ll want to set up a firewall system that not only has redundancies in case of failure, but you’ll also want to set up backup plans in case of hardware or power failures.
The bottom line is that you want to make sure that everything within your sphere of control is not only powerful, but that there are built-in redundancies and backup plans to get and keep your business up and running.
Now that you know your internal infrastructure is ready to minimize downtime, you must make sure your external service structure is sufficiently backed up. This means you should plan for your external service to have occasional outages by purchasing backup service. There are several services you should consider backing up with secondary service providers:
- ISP – No matter how great the Internet service is, all providers have outages. You will either want a primary and secondary internet service provider, just in case one has an outage (and hopefully the other will not have the same problem at the same time), or a provider who has truly redundant services.
- DNS – DNS service providers give you the routes to access your cloud hosting services. You want to make sure that your data has multiple access points through DNS servers in case one of those access points is shut down. This is especially necessary in today’s age of cyber attacks, which are a major reason for DNS failures.
One Source for Always On
Moving your business to the cloud can be incredibly convenient and cost-effective, but there certainly is a lot to consider when preparing. Redundant services can be expensive, but it pales in comparison to the expenses of lost revenues and data if your services fail. You’ll be doing yourself and your business a great service to consider these elements.
That’s not to say it isn’t a hassle. Sometimes negotiating multiple contracts with multiple service providers isn’t worth the time. Wouldn’t it be better if you had a single service provider that helped you track all of these considerations and redundancies, to ensure your business is always connected without the hassle? That’s what we’re working to achieve at Allied.