Skip to content

IT Insight: Backup ISP and Business Piece of Mind –

JoAnn Hodgdon

Like your house, you cannot always rely on the power always being on. You’ve got that generator just in case. There are times that the internet is going to go down from your carrier. It could be weather-related, a disconnect on your end, a fire, but you need peace of mind knowing that your circuit’s up and business continues.

If your staff can’t access the needed resources to serve your clients, the clients are not going to have a great customer experience. Loss of email, voice over IP system, CRM, line of business applications could cost you thousands of dollars per hour if you’re down. You want automatic failover on the backend like the generator at your house. If the primary circuit goes down, failover protection keeps you up and ready. No downtime, your power is always on.

As most companies function through online software and applications, downtime causes your business tremendous loss in productivity.

Yet there is a preventative solution to dealing with outages. A secondary internet connection can be implemented before you experience any downtime. This backup ISP service or backup redundancy is a safety net, not necessary unless your primary connection experiences a failure. Easy to install and ready to go, it will minimize your losses and downtime in the case of an outage.

The benefits to Backup ISP are many.  Internet interruptions of any kind are difficult. Spotty service and slow speed are reason enough for effective, timely redundancy.  It allows a plan without waiting for your ISP to get you back up. A solid backup internet plan will determine the level of your customer service, your top priority while keeping you within your budget.

You will need to get to get a redundancy circuit, a second connection coming into the business from a different carrier. There are many options available such as Firstlight, Consolidated, Comcast, Spectrum, Verizon. Your location will determine which one to use.

How does a business choose a second carrier? Your Managed Service Provider will assess your work environment to understand what your current internet usage is. Some business IT traffic is transactionally heavier than others with many applications and users, both remote and in the office with much activity incoming to the server. For instance, you may have a lot of research and development or CAD work. You really need to understand the Internet environment; the culture of your business using the internet and a list of all applications, whether they are on-premises or in the cloud is inventoried. Further, how many users are on this network? How often are you down and what are the causes? This all determines your provider options.

What do you need to use a backup ISP? Begin with a business-class firewall. A lot of firewalls are only able to manage one ISP circuit coming in. A dual-wan connection, or edge router, is one device that allows two services to come into that firewall. Each company provides their own managed edge router coming in. The right switches in place allow the Internet traffic to travel efficiently. If you have an older 10/100 switch, your performance will drag like using a gigabit switch. Imagine riding on route one, versus I95 in a traffic jam. The key is the business class firewall and recommended edge router from your provider.

As part of your backup plan, test your backup ISP quarterly or when reset so you know it is operational when you will need it.

Cost control for businesses differs based on you needs. If you need a dual hard-wired circuit, you will pay more.  But think of this investment as insurance.  Running a wireless option like Verizon will result in your business paying for it only if you use it, giving flexibility and savings. You pay the minimal fee to have this type of backup in place and available to use as needed and pay short money in fees if needed, for peace of mind. 

A hardwired solution is typically at the pole into your building through an ISP like Consolidated, FirstLight, Comcast, Spectrum bringing that service from that pole into your building. If a pole gets hit or goes down, your ISP is out. There is nothing you can do about it but await the repair. Take the hard line out of the equation and depend on wireless. You must consider what the building is like and what is the coverage.  For instance, what is your cell phone coverage within your building?  Even if it is not strong, an external antenna can improve your signal additionally.

Your Managed Service Provider, like PCG, has strong relationships with many carriers and is well versed in working on your behalf regarding your continuity plan with the performance you need.

Connectivity and time matters.  Chooses a partner you can trust through any network outage! PCGiT.

JoAnn Hodgdon is vice president and co-founder of Portsmouth Computer Group (PCGiT) with her husband David. PCG provides comprehensive managed IT services, business continuity, security, cloud computing and Virtual CIO services to their clients.  You may reach her at [email protected] or at