By Claire West

There are few service companies that wouldn’t regard email as vital to
their business. The majority of firms in this sector are SME’s and pride
themselves on the good service associated with this choice — but how
often does this grind to a halt the second internet access is lost?

Nigel Davey of IT support service, Managed Networks, said ‘Many
service-based companies spend considerable amounts of money tendering for
business based on their ability to offer outstanding client service. Email
is a key factor in distributing information quickly yet very few companies
have a contingency in place if their internet goes down. The loss of
internet for any period causes a great deal of frustration all round, yet
how many companies have a back up ADSL service or have a SLA-backed service
guarantee in place?’

Davey said ‘We’ve known cases where an ADSL connection has been
off-line for over a week because of something as silly as a parked car. In
one recent case in central London engineers were unable to repair a cable
for a week because a vehicle had been parked over the access point and the
owners were away on holiday. They had parked perfectly legally so there
was absolutely nothing that could be done. For a company totally reliant
on being on-line — without an alternative option this could have been
disastrous.’

Given this, most companies should consider either a remote option or an
alternative ADSL line. Services such as Desktop Live allow employees to
work anywhere provided they have internet access whilst a second ADSL line
supplied by a different provider means that there is always a back up.

With the average, 20-person SME costing £3000 a week simply to exist, just
one day of down-time can be expensive. Davey continued ‘Bad weather, gas
leaks and flooding affect large numbers of people so under these
circumstances clients are very forgiving — but if you are the only
company without email for more than half a day, frankly you run the risk of
looking amateurish, regardless of what it does directly to your income.
Investment in prevention is a not a large sum — especially relative to
any losses lack of email could cost you’