For some people, being unable to get online feels like losing a limb. But for businesses, losing internet access can be much more serious. You can be looking at missed enquiries, lost orders, a lack of productivity … potentially, you’re losing money every minute you’re offline.
If you rely on the internet, it’s a very good idea to think about how your business would cope if your connection failed. Obviously, you’ll hope this never happens, particularly if you’ve chosen a good quality broadband supplier.
However, even the best internet connections can fail occasionally – so here are five ways to get back online in a pinch.
1. Ask your neighbours
If you share a building with another business, consider setting up a reciprocal arrangement to share internet connections. If yours fails, you can borrow theirs – and vice versa. Just make sure you get your connections from different providers so problems don’t affect you both.
2. Buy a backup line
Basic broadband connections can cost as little as £10 a month. So why not buy one to use as a backup? It might not be as fast as your main connection, but it’ll get you online in an emergency. The extra cost is low – see it as a kind of insurance for your business, if you like.
3. Get a mobile connection
Mobile broadband connections are available from mobile phone networks. You buy a small ‘dongle’ which plugs in to your computer and connects you to the internet. Mobile connections tend not to be as fast as fixed-line broadband and coverage varies vastly. But if you’re in a strong signal area, it can be an effective temporary option.
4. Start working flexibly
If there’s no internet connection at your premises, why not get out and about? You can find free wireless internet in cafes, restaurants, pubs and – increasingly – in ‘coworking’ spaces specifically designed for mobile workers. Grab a coffee and log on – you’ll be surprised at how productive you can be. WorkSnug is an online directory of places to work in the UK.
5. Have a backup office
Some big companies – like banks and insurance firms – maintain emergency premises they can decamp to in the event of problems. For most smaller firms, providing such facilities is prohibitively expensive and over the top. But you could look into options like Regus Businessworld membership, to give you an alternative place to work from in an emergency.
Of course, none of these options are ideal, and you’ll probably suffer some loss of productivity no matter how quickly you can get back online following a problem. But at least if you have a plan for emergency internet access, you can keep dealing with customer emails and access cloud computing services with minimal disruption.