The five key realities of making it in an internet on-demand world

Just having internet isn't enough anymore

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It’s easy to take the comforts of life for granted. There are so many things we depend on that we hardly give a second thought: running water, indoor plumbing, electricity, and now even the Internet.

A growing number of us also expect to be able to connect to the Internet – anywhere and at any time. But the underreported truth is that the Internet is a remarkably volatile place. As with electricity and power outages, many factors can slow or completely take down Web access for companies and their customers.

From the surprising (like underwater cables being damaged by sharks) to the accidental and innocuous (like Ellen Degeneres’ Oscar tweet that crashed Twitter), the Internet bends and sometimes breaks.

And whether it’s mitigating so your website doesn’t crash or protecting against a hack, too many companies are woefully underprepared for an Internet blackout. Consider how Apple Music went down just as the VMAs were about to be announced, and the infamous Sony hack that cost the company at least $15M – two very high-profile events that hurt customers’ confidence, embarrassed executives, and risked business plans.

With 88% of global companies investing in the cloud, Internet quality is quickly becoming a baseline necessity to do business, and not a differentiator. Who cares about just having the Internet? It better be fast, available, and always-on.

Companies today need to address five key realities to make it in today’s on-demand world:

Uptime is now all the time

What do LeBron James and Apple Music have in common? They’ve both experienced site outages. In each case, a major announcement brought on more attention than they could handle.

This traffic overload is like blowing a fuse when your dishwasher, refrigerator, and air conditioner are all hooked up to the same circuit. To avoid whatever is causing downtime, companies must have a failover system in place for whatever interrupts their connection—whether or not it’s predictable.

> See also: Crouch, touch, pause then get online: why the Rugby World Cup needs better connectivity

Having internet isn't impressive anymore

Only 12% of Internet users worldwide are willing to wait for a website to load, and consumers’ attention spans are shorter than ever before.

Companies today need to monitor their connections to make sure they are as direct as possible, and adjust if they’re not. It’s kind of like having Google Maps for an Internet signal: it can tell you the fastest way from point A to point B and recommend a detour in case of traffic or roadblocks. In the end, if a company’s site doesn’t load immediately, they’ve lost their audience.

Customers are all over the map

From China, to India, and now Cuba, the Internet is connecting more off-the-grid places than ever before. But if a company can’t reach those audiences, it doesn’t matter if there’s eager customers in Hong Kong, Mumbai or Havana.

Companies must invest in servers in international locations to create the infrastructure necessary to reach these unique markets. Once an infrastructure is in place, they must also work to understand the local Internet culture. Are customers primarily using mobile devices to get online, like in India? Are there any Internet restrictions to worry about, as in China?

Risk isn't a board game, it's real

As much as the Internet is a benefit to businesses, it’s also a huge risk – just look at Sony and Ashley Madison. DDoS attacks can keep users from accessing a network resource, while Man-in-the-Middle (MiTM) attacks intercept data as it travels, without the customer or the business knowing until it’s too late. 

Companies can circumvent these issues ahead of time by making sure their IP is up to standards. Then all that’s left is to monitor and address threats before they become breaches, and repeat.

Investing in tools and infrastructure to prepare for Internet failures is no longer a luxury 

Rather, it has become an imperative to maintaining business continuity and customer satisfaction. 

The Internet is as integral to business as any other system that modern organisations rely upon, and it’s the last thing we should be taking for granted. Time is money — and downtime is money, reputation, and loss of customer confidence.

> See also: Why the Wi-Fi of things is the connected future 

Most companies and organisations have backup generators and surge protection to keep their electricity up and running, and sophisticated firewalls and safety nets to protect their customer information and data. So why haven’t they done the same when it comes to their Internet performance?

It’s time for businesses everywhere to start prioritising their Internet performance to stay relevant today, and to prepare for a future where online services and products are even more ubiquitous than they are now.

The companies that will ultimately succeed in our increasingly competitive online world will be prepared for continued uptime, understand their customer base, and take the steps to prevent external attacks.

Only then will they be ready to handle the unexpected – whether that’s sharks chewing on their cables, or hackers intent on damaging their reputation and stealing their data.

Sourced from Kyle York, CMO, Dyn

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