The days have gone when we consider whether we need internet services or not and today a Business Internet service is as important as utilities such as electricity, water and phones. Because we treat Internet services as a utility, we are always looking around for the best deal, but changing internet services in any business is not always straight forward and there can be a few complications along the way. So here are our top 5 considerations for Business’s thinking about changing internet service supplier, in no particular order…..
The first thing we all think about is how much bandwidth am I getting for my money, and it’s a fair point. However, before we get dazzled by a supplier offering lots of ‘megs’ it pays to think about your requirements. How much bandwidth are you using at the moment, and when we say this we mean using and not buying, because the two are very different. Look at your existing traffic graphs (or ask your suppler for them) and see how much bandwidth you are using and when. It will be likely be that at certain times of the day your bandwidth will peak and if this peak is during normal office hours, then you’re likely going to need more. If the peak is during normal of hours, but say at lunch time, then there may not be the same urgency on upgrading your bandwidth.
The second thing to consider is the future. Is the Business considering the purchase of some more computers or tablets? Are you looking to implement or extend a BYOD network for staff or visitors? Or are you looking to extend your use of cloud services using business critical applications such as Office 365, Accounting Software of Specialist operational applications in the office? All these factors will help you understand your future bandwidth requirements so you can start the conversation with a supplier with your outline requirements in mind.
Then there’s how your bandwidth is configured to work, because in Business one size does not fit all. Internet providers that add real value to your business enable your bandwidth to be optimised to protect the performance of certain services, even when there is plenty of bandwidth available. For example, consider the impact on your internet speeds when all your Computers are updated at the same time and they all simultaneously download a large update from Microsoft servers. Referred to as QoS, or Quality of Service, this enables critical services to be given priority on your internet circuit. For example, if you use a VoIP telephone system, you may want to ensure that your calls get a ‘priority’ over other web traffic to maintain a high call quality, or you may wish to place a priority on your specialist applications on your network.
A good internet provider who understands the Business sector will consider these requirements and configure the service in such a way as to provide a 1st class uninterrupted service
The world of internet services is surrounded by privacy and safety concerns, and nowhere is this more important than in your Business where safeguarding your data is critical. Providing a safe and secure internet service for employees and managers is one of the most important considerations in Business today. It’s important to consider safeguarding data when you change your internet service as it’s very common for the internet and safeguarding solution to ‘bundled’ together in the Business sector. Hence, you need to satisfy yourself that any prospective supplier is not only providing the services you need, but those services meet your data protection policies that you have in place.
With the growth of multi-site Business working both nationally & internationally, the need to link Business locations together at a network level is increasing.
There are many benefits to link Business office locations together, such as running a single network domain or sharing network resources between business. Technically, there are a number of ways this can be achieved and some of these methods are better than others. However, the core of it will always be your internet connectivity. Technologies such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have the ability to link sites across the Internet by creating a secure tunnel, but the performance of them is heavily reliant on the route that is taken across the Internet and they can frequently cause performance and support issues in business.
A better way to link sites is to use your providers network using MPLS or SD-WAN technologies to link Business together without the need to traverse the Internet, which makes it easier for the Business to manage and makes it easier to share resources between offices.
There are many Internet Service Providers out there now and choosing a supplier can sometimes be tricky. It’s important that you select a provider that you are comfortable with and that can assure you of a resilient service that is really going to meet your needs. The interesting thing about a Business’s internet needs is they can all each be quite different. Business’s usage typically comes between 08:00 and 17:30 and there can be very little traffic outside these times.
It’s important that Business’s select a supplier that can demonstrate experience in the Business sector, understand in detail their overall requirements and provide a solid service supported locally.
All ISPs will implement the service and test is works off site, after all that’s what you are paying for. However, not all suppliers will make the connection to your network and test every aspect of the service for the Business. It’s no longer common for ISPs to send an engineer to install their equipment on site (sometimes referred to at the CPE) and ensure that their connection works. They will not all integrate into your network and check that you are up and running on their new connection and this is frequently left up to you.
A good local provider will complete the installation end to end and ensure that the internet is not only tested from the CPE, but the connection is made to your network, works from your client devices and the appropriate filtering & security is being applied to safeguard your employees as well as visitors. This is the value add provided by a small number of local internet service providers, particularly those that work in the business sector where they understand your requirements in detail.