How to Choose an Internet Service Provider for Your Business – 5 Questions to Ask

Selecting an Internet Service Provider for your business doesn’t have to be difficult, and price shouldn’t be the only deciding factor. Service, scalability, and reliability should also be key considerations in your decision.

Here are 5 questions to ask that can help you narrow down your decision.

1. Can The Internet Service Provider Grow With My Small Business?

All small businesses want to grow. As you add more members to your team, you need to be sure you have the capability to add more bandwidth to help them get the job done. The connection you’re currently using may be great for your needs today. But if your business experiences a sudden stroke of good fortune, you need to know that you’ll have the tools to meet customer demands tomorrow.

2. Is The Internet Service Provider Ready to Respond to Cyber Attacks?

According to CNBC, about 60 percent of small businesses that suffer a cybersecurity attack go out of business within six months. In the last 12 months, hackers have breached half of all small businesses. If you think you’re going to slip under the radar because you’re a small fish in a big pond, think again.

If you’re looking at selecting or switching service providers, think about the kind of protection they can offer when a hacker puts you in their crosshairs. The methods hackers use vary from sophisticated DDoS attacks to man-in-the-middle tactics, and you need to make sure that someone is looking out for you. 24/7 threat monitoring from your service provider can help you be ready for whatever comes your way.

3. Can The Internet Service Provider Help With IT?

One of the most amazing things about connectivity is the way it has leveled the playing field between large and small businesses. Cloud-based CRM has allowed companies of all sizes to punch above their weight and deliver a personalized customer experience that used to be only possible if you were sitting on reams of data.

With managed IT services, you have the ability to troubleshoot devices remotely and fix problems as quickly as they come up. You get the capabilities of a much larger company with a dedicated IT department for a fraction of the price. Rolling that in with your service provider is a no-brainer, enabling them to monitor and respond to any threat or issue that comes your way.

4. Can The Internet Service Provider Also Provide Telephone Service?

Even as new channels are becoming more and more important in the customer experience, customers still want to talk to a human being. However, you don’t need to keep things low tech just because your customers prefer a low-fi approach. Instead, use a service provider that can give you a hosted phone system.

Unlike traditional telephone setups, a hosted phone system gives your team the flexibility to deal with incoming phone traffic no matter where they are. Support is all handled by the provider, freeing up your IT staff to concentrate on more important things. Routing calls through a provider also means that you’ll be able to stay connected, even if the worst-case scenario should happen.

5. How Can The Internet Service Provider Help Me in a Disaster?

According to Purdue University, about 75 percent of small businesses do not have a disaster recovery plan in place. As if cybersecurity, it’s easy to think, “This probably won’t happen to me.” Yet 40 percent of small businesses never recover from a disaster.

When you’re looking at a service provider, you should be thinking about how they can help you should the worst-case scenario happen. Do they have off-site backups to make sure that your data is safe? Are they able to still field calls if most of the infrastructure around your business is destroyed? Make sure there’s a plan in place before the going gets tough.

What You Can Do Right Now

Selecting or switching Internet service providers is always challenging for a small business. There’s a lot out there, and it can be hard to figure out the best decision for your team in the long-run. Asking questions about how a provider can grow with your business, their readiness for cyber attacks, their managed IT capabilities, their options for phone systems, and their disaster readiness can help narrow things down.

  • Plan for growth with your Internet service provider.
  • Find out what kind of support your service provider can offer when responding to cyber attacks.
  • Look into Managed IT services to help support your team.
  • Consider a hosted phone system from your ISP to help service customers
  • Make sure that you are disaster-ready.
  • Contact Cox Business
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