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How much difference can 0.09% really make?

After all, on a math test, 99.9% and 99.99% are both still very good grades. And if you’re trying to get your toddler to eat their entire meal, you’re probably not going to fight if it’s just 99.9% complete.

When it comes to the uptime of your business Internet, though, the difference between three 9’s (99.9%) and four (99.99%) can be a lot more drastic. In fact, it can add up to millions of dollars of savings per year.

What are high availability and uptime?

Before exploring the difference between 99.9% and 99.99% uptime, though, let’s look at what all of those nines are even referring to. For that, start with a couple of definitions:

  • High availability: When an Internet provider touts “high availability,” they’re referring to how dependable their network really is, and the built-in redundancies they have in place to help maintain network performance over time. In other words, 100% availability would mean that your Internet will go uninterrupted 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. The closer you can get to that, then, the better.

  • Uptime: Very similarly, network uptime is the time your network is up and running. Its opposite is downtime, when it’s not running at all. Guaranteed uptime, then, is the amount of time your provider can guarantee your Internet will be interruption-free over the year. While 100% is a difficult number for providers to guarantee, the best providers will get close.

With more and more businesses today relying on cloud-based software solutions and business applications, fast, dependable Internet access is more important than ever – which means high availability is as well. It allows your business to continue running without interruptions for long periods of time, and should be something you keep in mind when searching out the best Internet for your business.

Guaranteed uptimes of 99.9% and 99.99% are both common. So in order to make a smart choice between them, knowing the difference between three 9’s and four is important as well.

Why a single 9 can mean millions of dollars?

If 100% uptime translates to 365-day access without interruptions, how do 99.9% and 99.99% uptime measure up? How high, in other words, does your availability need to be?

To figure that out, just do the math. When all is said and done, 99.9% uptime opens up the possibility for 8.76 hours of downtime through the year. On the other hand, 99.99% uptime means a potential 0.876 hours. There’s just under eight hours difference between the two.

Spread over a year, it may not seem like a lot. That is, until you calculate just how much money seven-plus hours of downtime could cost you.

Gartner estimates that network downtime can cost businesses an average of $5,600 per minute – or over $300,000 per hour. Those seven-plus hours of downtime, then, equal out to over $2.3 million in potential extra costs annually. Clearly that single nine makes a big difference.

All of which means that you want a clear understanding of your Internet provider’s guaranteed uptime before you sign up.

How to ensure you have high availability

So how do you make sure your high availability is high enough? Start by reviewing your Service Level Agreement (SLA).

Your SLA should specify the uptime you’re guaranteed – whether that’s 99.9%, 99.99% or something else entirely. And your service provider should back that promise up, no matter the conditions, including bad weather, network outages, etc. It should all be there, in writing, before you sign up.

That’s why understanding the specifics of your SLA before you make a decision on your business Internet provider can save you millions of dollars from the start. And more than that, it can ensure your business remains ready to keep up with its needs, no matter what.

Just don’t overlook that extra 0.09%.

Find out more about Xplore Business’ custom business solutions.