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What’s Your Backup Plan?

Your family likely has an emergency plan in place for severe weather. What about your business?

We’ve all heard the age-old saying: “Prepare for the worst, expect the best.” It seems like each year Colorado brings even more unpredictable weather, and with it dreaded network service outages that seem outside of our control. For Denver metro area business owners, losing access to their network would almost certainly hurt their bottom line.

I recently spoke with a customer who runs an IT services company. On a clear day in the heat of the summer, their area experienced a “brownout” – where less power is delivered to homes and buildings – due in part to high air conditioner usage, causing too much stress on the power grid. They were unable to make and receive sales calls for a full day, setting their business back an untold amount of dollars. Data show that businesses lose between $926 and $17,244 for every minute their operations are stalled. This could have been prevented.

Fortune favors the prepared. It’s clear that a business’s ability to remain operational during an outage could make or break their overall success. As you prepare your business for the worst, here are a few considerations for your checklist so that you can expect the best.

1) Make sure your network equipment is up to date. Often, businesses are so focused on their day-to-day success that they don’t stop to consider whether their internet is scaling with them. Equipment failure is a common cause of network outages and caused 40 percent of all reported downtime, according to a recent study. Think of your network equipment like a rubber-band – if you stretch it too wide, it’ll snap. Customers tend to forget that a state-of-the-art network requires equally cutting-edge equipment to physically support it.

2) Avoid network overload. If you’re a small business owner, your network may be only capable of handling a few employees online at a time. But what if a client comes into the office, or you experience a day with higher than normal traffic? In today’s connected era, it’s not uncommon for a single employee to have several connected devices on hand at any given moment. Double-check to make sure your network isn’t on the edge of its bandwidth.

3) Have a backup plan in place. Worst case scenario, the Metro Denver area experiences a power outage outside your control and your network goes down indefinitely. Cutting-edge tech has made it possible for your internet to stay on, even when your power goes out. Talk to your network provider about an automatic backup internet connection to ensure that your business keeps running smoothly, regardless of factors like weather, human error or severed power lines.

The bottom line is some aspects of network outages are within our control, but others are not. Running a business can be challenging and unpredictable, but in 2019 and as you look toward 2020, your internet access should be a sure thing. Plan ahead with your provider to make sure your network can support your business through even the heat of the summer or worst bomb cyclone – you’ll be glad you did.

Robert Thompson, is the vice president of Comcast Business, Mountain West Region