December 02, 2016

The Only Certainties in Life: Death, Taxes, and ...Network Outages?

Ben Franklin certainly didn’t have a crystal ball when he wrote “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” But if he were around in today’s modern age of connectivity, it’s almost certain he would have added network outages to that list.

For any distributed enterprise with branch offices, a network outage can wreak havoc on the bottom line. Gartner averages the costs and lost revenue associated with network downtime at $5,600 per minute and notes a whopping hourly range anywhere from $140,000 to $540,000.

In addition to the financials, network downtime potentially compromises the brand and customer satisfaction. If a gift card can’t be processed or credit card information won’t go through on the first, second, or even the third time, the customer isn’t likely to forget a poor experience. Customers will not blame the hardware or network provider; they will blame the business.    

We live in a connected world with expectations of 100 percent uptime from business owners, employees, and customers. Nevertheless, wires do fail. Regardless of the type of disruption – a traffic accident, severe weather, or heavy network congestion – the inability to communicate in real time hurts operations, sales, and profitability. Reliable network connectivity is essential to business continuity.  

These risks can be mitigated by having a safeguard for your primary connection in place, such as a 4G LTE wireless failover solution. There are three key reasons a wireless failover solution is often the best choice for business continuity.  

It’s Preventative

The trouble with most forms of insurance is the claim needs to be made after calamity strikes. Wouldn’t it be great if insurance would help us prevent bad things from happening? That’s essentially what an automatic 4G LTE failover will do for your business. Network outages happen instantaneously and unexpectedly. A wireless failover solution will immediately detect a break in the network and take over to keep your business and revenue rolling, while mitigating risks to your security and customer satisfaction.

It’s Cost Effective and Easy to Manage
There are other alternatives to a wireless failover – costly technology upgrades can improve, but not guarantee, network uptime. For instance, a T1 or T3 line can increase internet availability, but it is expensive. A wired redundancy is also an option, but this option can suffer physical damage at the same time as the primary wired connection. Wireless failover offers an always-on, cost effective way to ensure continuity of business in the event of a network outage. It also promises ease of management for organizations with limited IT resources by offering scalability across distributed locations, fast time to deployment, and remote management and monitoring, further saving money by limiting the number of personnel needed for on-site technical maintenance.

It’s Secure
A good wireless network failover is able to integrate seamlessly with an organization’s existing security structure. With all the sensitive information traveling to and from distributed enterprises, a backup network needs to have strict measures in place such as PCI compliance for credit card security. In a competitive world where everyone is looking for that extra edge, a good 4G LTE wireless failover solution enables a business-as-usual environment regardless of circumstances.

In addition to wireless failover, out-of-band management functionality provides IT departments with a secure, cost effective way to manage and resolve remote networking equipment using cellular connectivity when primary networks fail. It efficiently allows for configuring and rebooting firewalls, routers, bridges, switches, and servers without going through the primary network or relying on a separate and costly telephone line. The ROI on OOBM can be realized almost immediately by significantly reducing the number of costly truck rolls – i.e., dispatching technicians to remote sites to diagnose, fix, and reconfigure equipment or to respond to a service call or network outage. 

Business continuity demands a solution that combines wireless failover with OOBM functionality.  Fortunately, world-class connectivity, hardware and management capabilities along with network and deployment support is now within reach for businesses of any size.

Bill Molesworth is vice president of wireless services at Orbcomm (www.orbcomm.com). 

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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