Forget High Availability; Modern Enterprises Need Always-on Services

To ensure their applications are always on, redundant networking connections are critical for businesses that need to avoid downtime and outages.

4 Min Read
Forget High Availability; Modern Enterprises Need Always-on Services
(Credit: GmbH & Co. KG / Alamy Stock Photo)

As the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile broadband have been embedded into every industry over the past decade, the cost of connectivity issues has increased, with some businesses now facing life-critical incidents during downtime.

At the heart of the matter is that mobile connectivity expectations and requirements are much higher than ever before for many use cases. Any downtime or service disruption is critical. Unfortunately, most enterprises are impacted on a regular basis. In fact, over 95% of businesses have experienced some form of connectivity issues every month, with two-thirds losing customers due to the loss of connectivity and a quarter falling victim to a cyberattack, according to rSIM, a provider of intelligence SIM cards.

Mobile networking operators try to placate worried businesses with Service Level Agreements (SLAs), which typically ensure 98% to 99% service every month. If the operator fails to meet the target, the impacted business is usually compensated, although the customer is responsible for measuring the downtime and reporting it.

Mobile networking stability has improved massively over the past decade, to the point where some operators offer “99.999%” uptime. However, the majority stick with 99% or 99.9% to cover them from mishaps. Even then, most operators fail to meet 99% consistently, with the hope most customers won’t file a report.

99% Not Good Enough

Even at 99%, businesses face hours of downtime a month, which can be very significant depending on the operations. A 1% downtime translates to 1 hour 40 minutes offline per week, or 7 hours and 15 minutes per month. At 2% downtime, businesses face 14 hours and 24 minutes of downtime a month, which equates to more than seven days of downtime per year.

Downtime is usually unplanned, the result of hardware failures, software bugs, or human error, meaning it is unlikely to happen at a convenient time for customers. For customers in healthcare and other mission-critical industries, a loss of connectivity may force a shift back to manual operations, which reduces the chances of a successful procedure.

According to rSIM, 87% of businesses see reliable connectivity as an essential capability to operate effectively, with 32% holding off on developing new services and products due to a lack of network resilience.

"Our business lives and breathes connectivity, and we understand the pain points that companies experience when they are without it," said Richard Cunliffe, a Director at rSIM, in a prepared statement. “The incredible growth of IoT devices that we have experienced is putting huge demands on network resilience, and future expansion will be simply impossible with the current levels of reliability provided. The results of the survey back up that view.”

Ways To Avoid Downtime

Network downtime at the provider’s end is not the fault of the consumer, but a business should still have contingency plans in place to prevent loss of service during a period of downtime. Constant monitoring of the network is one of the main ways to reduce downtime, as businesses will be able to get in touch with service providers and move to redundant systems faster.

Redundant networking connections are critical for businesses that need to be always online. In the event the primary network is down, there should be an easy switch in place to provide backup service, even at a slower rate, until the primary network is back online. Another solution would be to have critical operations and devices work even when offline, syncing data at a later date with the network, although that is not always possible.

To reduce the potential costs of downtime, businesses should look to routinely backup servers and maintain best practices on storing data to ensure a quick shift back to normality. Having a broader recovery plan in place is a necessity in times of elongated downtime.

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About the Author(s)

David Curry, Technology Writer

David Curry is a technology writer with several years experience covering all aspects of IoT, from technology to networks to security.

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