The major failure of BT’s broadband network was a lesson in contingency planning for many Sussex businesses.
In its aftermath, the BBC reported hundreds of thousands of users were badly affected when the major outage occurred on 2 February.
BT claimed a faulty router was to blame which raised some doubting eyebrows. Casting blame aside, it highlights many IT consultants’ advice about the need for a reliable connection and for contingency planning.
We all rely so heavily now on internet-based relationships with customers and partners that such an outage can have serious consequences. It’s roughly equivalent to major road traffic disruption on the M25, M1, M4 and M6.
That’s why businesses in Worthing and Brighton are advised to opt for a dual broadband solution. They should use two different broadband connections from different providers: one as the main line and the other as a back-up. If one fails, the other still works.
A good IT consultant will advise you which broadband to choose because some providers may actually be piggy-backing on another’s network. Your two connections need to be totally separate.
Leased lines are the best
An even better solution is to opt for a dedicated leased line. This is your own superhighway direct to the exchange using Ethernet. Unlike most broadband connections, it’s symmetrical and uses the same speed both ways.
Gary Jowett from Computer & Network Consultants in Brighton says: “It’s now critical that internet connections are always working for all businesses but many firms shy away from leased lines because of the extra expense. However, it’s well worth it because of the enhanced productivity and the business continuity a leased line ensures.”
He explains that all leased lines come with service level agreements (SLAs). The service provider must adhere to these SLAs or face financial penalties. This promotes a bigger incentive for the provider to monitor your service more closely and to remedy any problems more quickly. By contrast, broadband services don’t have SLAs.
After the failure of BT’s network, many South East businesses are probably searching for another broadband provider right now. However, they need to remember that the same problem could occur if they make a switch and have no back-up in place. Even with a leased line it’s a good idea to have an ADSL broadband line as a contingency measure.
Wherever you’re based in the South East – Southampton, Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Eastbourne, Horsham, Canterbury or Royal Tunbridge Wells – a robust back-up for your internet connections might well save your business from a major catastrophe.