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Safeguarding your business against telecoms outages


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It hasn’t been a good month for communications outages, and we are only two weeks in. First, Virgin Media customers were left for hours without television and internet connections after a workman cut through an underground cable with a pneumatic drill. Then, users of the Three network, on the same day as the Virgin Media disruption, were left unable to access mobile data after reports of disruption to the authentication process. The jury is still out on the exact cause of that one, but as indicated by Virgin Media, accidents do happen, even in IT. So, as an end-user of a business communications package, how can you protect your business in the event of such incidents?

Choosing a managed service provider (MSP) whose core network is multi-meshed can help minimise the effects of an overzealous pneumatic drill. When managed service providers build their core using multiple links from different providers, and configure the hardware in the core to automatically re-route traffic if there is a problem, they can deliver truly resilient services.

I would also advise giving due consideration to the reported uptime of any communications provider, be it during the tendering process, or perhaps earlier. While the occasional unpreventable outage is to be expected (pneumatic drills have a lot to answer for), a large proportion of downtime across a five year period should raise a red flag. Similarly, seek a business communications provider (ISP, business mobile or otherwise) with robust SLAs in place to safeguard businesses against incidents. And finally, CIOs should look carefully at the support teams of any potential service provider, and enquire about the performance and experience of the teams. Most service providers rely on the main telecom companies for the last mile of connectivity, so it’s important that the support teams are skilled at getting the best out of these suppliers 24/7.

Choosing a resilient service, whether business broadband or corporate mobile solutions, is of paramount importance. However, to ensure business continuity during times of disruption, businesses must also ask salient ‘what if…?’ questions to ensure the impact of such is lessened as much as possible.



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