Businesses are now so dependent on connectivity that any disruption to service is a disaster. Yesterday, Comcast, CenturyLink and Zayo suffered outages as a result of a fibre being cut. The faults were tracked back to two fibre cuts at CenturyLink (North Carolina) and one at Zayo (New York). This disrupted traffic in New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Francisco, Denver and Chicago.
Although service providers build in redundancy and can reroute traffic, the combination of these three cuts caused major disruption in the US (29 June 2018).
This follows hard on the heels of another Comcast outage (6 June 2018) when the company suffered a huge landline outage affecting businesses across the US. Service disruptions to its Comcast Business Voice and VoiceEdge Select service were reported in California, Florida, states in the Pacific Northwest and parts of Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. The outage also affected emergency service calls in Washington State.
The vulnerability to outage emphasises the need for businesses to have a continuity plan that can kick in whether the problem is a cyber attack, a cut cable, terrorist activity, fire or flood. This is where mobile services can often step in to fill the breech – providing continuity for voice services and connectivity.
For those targeting the SME market, this is an ideal area to build cost-effective solutions. The UK’s Federation of Small Businesses says that only 35% of SMEs have a plan in place to cope with disruption of service (most of those are the mid-sized businesses and larger small businesses). Yet Megapath underlines how vulnerable firms are to outages, pointing out that in the US, 73% of firms have experienced some form of service disruption in the last five years. The company argues that firms need to become more aware of, and move towards, the telecoms norm of 5 nines engineering, because the IT norm of 99.9% reliability translates into a massive 9 hours of downtime per year (compared to 5 minutes of downtime at 5 nines reliability)
This points to an area where B2B service providers can bundle a range of services for SME customers to enable business continuity. The lower down the size range you go, the more businesses you’ll find that have no continuity plans. As the number of self-employed and microbusinesses in the UK grows, the bigger this opportunity is set to become.