The internet is the greatest business resource ever invented, but our increasing reliance on connectivity creates new risks for firms that need it the most. As our reliance upon technology grows, so does the cost of internet downtime for businesses.

Beaming has been working with research company Opinium, a mathematician from Imperial College and more than 500 businesses using a range of internet providers and connectivity services to better understand and quantify the impact of internet outages on UK businesses.

We found that UK businesses clocked up 149 million hours of internet downtime between them last year and that the cost to the economy was £12.3 billion in lost productivity.

Over two thirds (72%) of UK firms experienced up to eight internet connection failures and 43 hours of downtime each that prevented them from trading or accessing vital online services during in the year to 31 March 2016. The cost to business in terms of lost productivity and unnecessary overtime amounted to £521 per employee.

Here are some of the key findings from our research:

  • While 13% of businesses manage internet outages by switching to alternative connections and 25% mitigate some downtime by moving to non-internet related tasks, day-to-day operations grind to a halt completely at 38% of companies when their connectivity fails
  • 13% of firms start losing money immediately in the event of an outage. The proportion of firms losing money rises to 28% after an hour and 46% after four hours without the internet
  • Large and medium-sized businesses lose the fewest productive hours to downtime, but their greater reliance on internet technologies and the inability of most to switch to alternatives in the event of an outage mean they suffer a greater revenue impact than smaller companies
  • Businesses relying on consumer internet services suffered double the downtime (30 hours on average) experienced by users of business connections (16 hours). 51% of micro businesses and 80% sole traders still use broadband services designed for home use

Downtime can happen for all sorts of reasons, including equipment failures and malicious attacks. Businesses that use the internet should plan to ensure their connectivity is fit for purpose and that they have a backup plan to make sure any disruption is minimised and that it can be restored quickly if required. Most connectivity problems can be fixed quickly by technical experts over the phone and even before they occur through proactive monitoring.

Watch our video below to discover how good planning can reduce the risk and impact of internet failures and ensure businesses remain well connected and in business.

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