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Five options for emergency Internet access

Jonathan March 10, 2012 0 Comments

For some people, not being able to get on the internet feels like losing a limb. But for businesses, losing access to the internet can be far 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 web, it’s a very good idea to think about how your company would cope if your connection failed. Naturally, you’ll hope this never ever happens, especially if you’ve chosen a good quality broadband internet supplier.

However, even reliable internet connections can stop working from time to time – so here are 5 tips to get back online in a pinch.

  • Ask your neighbours. If you share a building with another business, consider setting up a mutual arrangement to share internet connections. If yours fails, you can borrow theirs – and vice versa. Just be sure you get your internet connections from different suppliers so problems don’t affect both of you.
  • Buy a backup line. Basic broadband internet connections can cost as little as £10 a month. So why don’t you get one to use as a backup? It might not be as fast as your main connection, but it’ll get you on the internet in an emergency. The additional cost is low – see it as a kind of insurance for your business, if you’d prefer.
  • Get a mobile connection. Mobile broadband connections are available from mobile phone networks. You buy a tiny ‘dongle’ which plugs in to your computer and connects you to the internet. Mobile connections will not 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.
  • Start working flexibly. If there’s no web 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.
  • Have a backup office. Some big companies – like banks and insurance companies – maintain emergency premises they can decamp to in case of problems. For most smaller firms, providing such facilities is prohibitively expensive and over the top. But you could consider options like Regus Businessworld membership, to give you an alternative place to work from in an emergency.

Needless to say, none of these alternatives 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 strategy for emergency internet access, you can keep dealing with customer emails and access cloud computing services with minimal disruption.

Photo Credit: William Hook

Written by Jonathan