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Podcast: The power of business continuity with Viasat

By |2019-10-30T10:51:50-06:00Oct 10, 2019|Business, Podcast|

Cody Catalena, Viasat’s VP of Global Business Services, talks about how businesses can easily protect against internet failure

In this episode of the Viasat Podcast, we talk to Cody Catalena, Vice President of Global Business Services for Viasat. In addition to being a good option for businesses outside the cable and fiber zone, Viasat’s Business Internet service also offers online continuity protection that Catalena says is something just about any business should consider.

Cody Catalena

Cody Catalena

With almost all types of businesses increasingly reliant on connectivity, having a “Plan B” for when primary service is interrupted is crucial, Catalena says. Whether it’s from a natural disaster, a fiber line cut by a construction crew of just a short primary ISP outage, a satellite backup with a failover router can turn a bad situation into a non-event.

In this interview with Alex Miller from Viasat Corporate Communications, Catalena runs through some of the basics about continuity service:

  • Many businesses rely on cloud connectivity for a variety of business functions.
  • Even a short outage can mean significant revenue loss for a business.
  • Having a Viasat dish on the roof on standby is an affordable way to prevent outages from impacting business operations.
  • Having continuity service through Viasat can mean a business’s primary internet can go down and business can continue uninterrupted.

Viasat service is also a good fit for businesses in areas unserved or underserved by terrestrial internet service providers. For more information about Viasat broadband business internet, visit the website.

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Transcript

Alex Miller: Hello and welcome to the Viasat podcast. I’m Alex Miller with Corporate Communications. And with me today is Cody Catalena, vice president of Global Business Solutions for Viasat. Thanks for being on the podcast today, Cody.
Cody Catalena: Alex, thanks for having me. Appreciate you taking time to put this podcast together.
Alex Miller: All right. Well, today we’d like to talk about business continuity and how Viasat is working to give business owners the tools they need to stay online. So starting with the basics, what exactly do we mean when we talk about online continuity for business?
Cody Catalena: Sure, Alex. You know, years ago, businesses could essentially have all their transactions, conduct business without even having an internet connection. You know, they used POT (plain old telephone) service to process credit cards. They took cash. Their cash registers were all local. And now everything a business does has moved to the cloud, uses the internet to process credit card transactions. And having an internet connection is essential for businesses to stay in business, to continue to keep the cash register ringing, serve their customers or provide their services. And so continuity for business is really about keeping businesses online, whether that’s through their primary internet connections or secondary internet connections.
Alex Miller: Ok, so obviously a super important component to any business, large or small, to have that internet connection that’s uninterrupted. So how common is it for an internet connection to be interrupted? How does that happen?
Cody Catalena: Well, you know, it can be it can actually be very common for internet connections to be interrupted or it can, you know, or in some cases it can be very uncommon. You know, it could be very stable connections, but it’s not uncommon at all for internet connections to have smaller interruptions throughout the day or week or month where your internet just goes down for a little while and then comes back. But then there are also events that cause larger scale outages and longer downtime. You know, whether those are natural disasters that come in the form of hurricanes or tornadoes or floods or earthquakes or you name it. So there’s just, you know, the typical reliability of a basic internet connection all the way to actual disaster-caused outages.
Alex Miller: Right. And so some other ways that continuity can be interrupted — A lot of times what happens is like a construction crew, like, you know, severs a fiber line or something like that, and they can take out a whole part of a neighborhood or business area for quite some time.
Cody Catalena: Yeah, absolutely. Just the pace of progress can cause internet connection outages. You know, a crew building next to you, cuts a line or maintenance on a cell tower or just, you know, daily life can create outages for sure. And sometimes those outages can take days or weeks to correct and bring back online.
Alex Miller: So you mentioned natural disasters. And, you know, sometimes it’s just a severe weather event — doesn’t have to be a full blown disaster that can knock out service for for a long time as well. Is that an area of concern that’s growing for businesses? Or maybe it’s worse in some areas than others?
Cody Catalena: Yeah, for sure. You know, I think it’s growing for businesses because businesses are relying more and more on their internet connectivity to conduct their business. So it’s absolutely growing for businesses. And we’re right in the middle of hurricane season right now. And you can see just with the storms that, you know, we have how these businesses that rely on the internet now need the internet, not only to conduct business transactions, but simply just to communicate with their customers, whether it’s via voice via text, via chat, you know, how are they communicating? It is now a basic form of communications for businesses to be in touch with their customers. And when their customers are experiencing the same catastrophe that a business could potentially experience, that’s when they really need to meet the needs of those customers. And that’s when they really need  business internet continuity so that they can remain in business. Those customers know that they can rely on that business.
Alex Miller: Right. That makes a lot of sense. Well, let’s talk about the stakes. What is … you talked about you know, how how important it is for a business to be online all the time. What does a business lose when its internet connection is cut off through any of these different scenarios?
Cody Catalena: Sure. Well, you know, the first thing that they could lose is revenue. You know, the immediate revenue from the transaction is they’re not able to partake in because of the lost internet connection. You know, the other more intangible hits to the business include lost trust from customers not being able to conduct business with the business when they might need it most of all. Or, you know, if there is no catastrophe going on, it’s just normal, beautiful day outside. But your your internet connection to your business has been cut by construction crew or some other means. And a customer finds that they can’t get in touch with you. Then, you know, you get viewed as unreliable or, you know, maybe not still in business. So there is a lot of cost, not just a real dollar cost, but hidden cost in losing connectivity. You know, that businesses really need to think about.
Alex Miller: Right. And of course, many businesses just use their phone services through the internet as well. So they would lose sort of all communication that way.
Cody Catalena: That’s right. That’s absolutely right. You know their phone service. You know, they have chat options on their Web sites at the business themselves or serving their Web sites — their Web sites could even go down? You know, fortunately, you know, for businesses, a lot of them probably put their Web site in the cloud so that that may not necessarily be impacted by direct outage at the business. But if they’re hosting their own Web site, their Web site could go down.
Alex Miller: So business owners have a pretty good idea of what’s on the line if the internet goes down. But but from what we hear, not a lot of businesses are putting in place the insurance they need to have that continuity or backup. So what should they be doing?
Cody Catalena: That’s an excellent point. I think, you know, business owners get an internet connection. They’re up and running and, you know, they feel like they’re in business. And then, you know, they don’t really think about what happens when I lose this internet connection and how many of my systems are actually impacted when I lose a system. So, you know, businesses should absolutely be thinking about, you know, the systems that are relying on their internet connection and then where they can find an alternative internet connection that can provide them with a good continuity service that allows them to stay in business, and that  could not only keep them in business, but you can give them a competitive advantage when you know there are other competitors, other businesses around that can’t stay in business.
Alex Miller: Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, Viasat, of course, has a pretty good solution for continuity. Can you tell us a little bit about how that system works for when you’re primary internet connection goes down?
Cody Catalena: Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, Viasat service works with a lot of the continuity options that are available out there. So if you have a primary connection, you can connect to Viasat into your network. And if you have a you know, an edge router with a WAN fail over, then, you know, Viasat service would automatically be failed over, too, as a continuity provider in that scenario. So, you know, it is an excellent alternative internet connection to add to your existing internet connection. You know, that provides you with that fail over option. And so it’s a you know, it’s a Viasat service is always on. So it’s there and it’s ready.
Alex Miller: You know, if you’re using Viasat as your secondary connection in that type of continuity scenario, what is it about satellite that makes it such a good option for a you know, what would you say a fail over service? And it’s also we see it in disaster area sometimes satellite … you know, we’ll come in and set up portable things. It’s like the only thing that can get connected after certain things have happened.
Cody Catalena: Yeah, I know exactly what you’re asking. So, you know, satellites, satellite service, you know, originates from an antenna on your rooftop. It goes up to the satellite and then that satellite returns back down to the earth in a completely different geographic location  where it gets on the internet and provides you with that connectivity to the internet. Whereas the alternative is your terrestrial internet connections, whether that be a cable coming into your building from from underground or even a wireless, a local wireless connection to a cell tower — point to point, wireless network. All those types of connections typically rely on local infrastructure. And so if local infrastructure goes down, all of those internet connectivity options are impacted, whereas the Viasat service, you know, is going up to the satellite coming down in different geographic area. And it is a true redundant internet connection — is a true continuity option versus just having two different types of internet provided by local terrestrial infrastructure. So you can imagine, you know, if you’re in a disaster zone where a hurricane has gone through and there are trees everywhere and businesses are under water and you know, the terrestrial  infrastructure has been completely knocked out. You know, the only thing that’s going to operate for probably some time is going to be a Viasat internet connection.
Alex Miller: Right. And we have quite a number of examples of that in the field. Can you think of any recently that kind of demonstrates how that works?
Cody Catalena: Yeah. One that really kind of sticks with me that is close to home. As you know, during Hurricane Harvey, there’s a company that provided, you know, mechanical services to hospitals and businesses and those sorts of things. And they actually knew Hurricane Harvey was coming. They reached out to us in advance. They installed service and they were able to serve their customers immediately after the hurricane was over. You know, they had connectivity there. One of the few businesses around, you know, that were able to serve their customers and they were serving customers with critical needs. You know, their business customers were hospitals and medical facilities and other types of businesses. So, you know, that’s just really a great example that’s, you know, actually pretty close to where we are in our facilities down here in Texas. This shows how if you just think ahead a little bit, you get the proper continuity service in place, it can really save your business, but also be a tremendous convenience, an asset to your community and your customers.
Alex Miller: Yes. And we’ve had a number of stories over the years, you know, whether it’s fires or floods or hurricanes where, you know, some local dealers have gone out and set up, you know, service to help people out or or, of course, you know, where were businesses that have been able to stay online and people will come to them. They become to the center of communications in the town. It’s pretty interesting.
Cody Catalena: Yeah, absolutely. When you get away from just, you know, how business owner should think about how to provide continuity to their own business. And you know, what we do as a business unit within Viasat is when you know, we know things are coming to certain areas, we actually pre-position, you know, assets for some of our customers, because we know they’re going to have trouble once the storm goes through or a certain event happens. And those  are the situations where we’re at least fortunate enough to know that something is going to happen. Other other types of disasters that are, you know, unknown, unplanned for and instantaneous. And those are those are even harder to, you know, harder to deal with and harder to provide continuity service. And that just kind of goes back to what’s a good reason to think about in advance.
Alex Miller: And strictly speaking, I mean, if you think about the impact to a business for losing continuity, that the solution of having the insurance of a Viasat satellite dish on the roof is relatively inexpensive, isn’t it?
Cody Catalena: Oh, absolutely. Yes, it’s extremely inexpensive, especially, you know, if you’re using Viasat as a  secondary internet connection, we have plans designed for that so that, you know, you’re not incurring a huge expense while, you know, we’re essentially in a standby mode in case you need it for other services. In many cases, though, you know, the fail lower service works so well that, you know, your internet connection, your primary internet connection may go down several times within a month and you may not even know that you’ve switched over to the Viasat service from using Viasat service for various periods of time because your business keeps operating and your service keeps going. So that’s the real beauty of the service.
Alex Miller: Right, so the ideal scenario where you just forget about it and it just keeps working.
Cody Catalena: That’s right.
Alex Miller: So satellite is such a great option for continuity. It’s also good option for a primary internet service for particular types of businesses or locations. Can you speak a little bit about that?
Cody Catalena: Yeah, absolutely. So, I would say if your business has access to fiber or cable then Viasat is an awesome option to be your secondary internet connection. If your business doesn’t have options for fiber or cable, then Viasat is most likely your best option for primary internet service. So that’s really how a business should think about it is, you know, if I have fiber or cable, that’s probably my primary and Viasat would be my secondary. If not, then I want to get Viasat as my primary and then look for some other type of service that I can use as a secondary internet connection. So that’s kind of how I would have businesses think about that. You know, that cut off and when you use Viasat as their secondary or their primary.
Alex Miller: Right, and I know one of the other advantages is especially larger companies that have you know, they may have 80 percent of their locations that are covered by, you know, cable or fiber and 20 percent that, you know, that might be candidates for a Viasat type service. And previously they would have kind of a patchwork of providers across the country. And Viasat gives them the opportunity kind of just to have one to cover all those other cases.
Cody Catalena: Absolutely. If you’re a distributed enterprise and you have, you know, a lot of the wide variety of primary internet connections spread across all your business locations around the country or even around the world, then, you know, Viasat is an excellent option to provide a consistent single point of contact as that  secondary connection and that continuity option for your business? Continuity is important for businesses. It’s important not just for the businesses, but for their customers and therefore for the communities that they operate in that they provide services in. So, you know, getting business continuity doesn’t have to be expensive and it can really be a business saver and a lifesaver when the time comes that your business needs it.
Alex Miller: Well, it sounds like continuity is something every business owner or corporate IT manager should be thinking about. So thanks for being on the podcast to talk about this, Cody, and let people know about this option.
Cody Catalena: Absolutely. Alex, thanks for. Thanks for giving us the time and giving us the call to participate.
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Alex Miller is the editor of the Viasat corporate blog. A veteran newspaper reporter and editor, Alex has been with Viasat since 2012, working out of the company's Denver office.