Business Internet Upgrade – Is it Time?
Odds are, if you clicked over to read this article, at the very least, you’re questioning if your business internet is meeting your needs now and into the near future. Your answers to the following questions should help you decide if your business internet needs an upgrade.
1. Do you have free WiFi available for your onsite customers?
Free, public WiFi isn’t a perk. Customers expect it. Moreover, it’s a deciding factor when picking an airline, hotel or holiday rental, a place to eat or drink, or a transport hub.
Companies use free WiFi to collect important customer details, such as email addresses or phone numbers. And customers don’t mind handing over their information. “Six in 10 people across the USA wouldn’t think twice about exchanging, sharing, or even doing something to get access to a strong, free WiFi network,” according to Norton’s “WiFi Risk Report.”
Furthermore, as cookies depreciate, organizations can leverage WiFi to gain valuable first-party data for location-based marketing and promotions.
2. Is your public WiFi separate from your business WiFi connection?
While guest WiFi is essential, it’s also risky. It’s nearly impossible to track every end-user and device connected to your public wireless network. Sharing business WiFi with your customers makes your data and network vulnerable to cyber breaches.
Instead, organizations should set up a separate WiFi connection for business employees, with a secure password and WPA/WPA2 encryption. Plus, owners can turn off the Service Set Identifier (SSID) — your network’s name — so customers can’t see it.
3. Does your business location have dead spots where a WiFi connection is spotty or non-existent?
Older infrastructure prioritizes primary working spaces and often creates dead spots. Yet, employees and customers want to access WiFi from everywhere, including outdoor spaces and non-traditional working areas, such as lounges. Your staff and clients are mobile, so your wireless network should work anywhere on your property.
Internet service providers (ISPs) use a heat-mapping tool to locate spaces with spotty connections. Technology infrastructure upgrades eliminate these dead spots so workers and customers can connect from anywhere.
4. Is your router up to date and secure?
Business owners must regularly update routers and replace older models when firmware updates are no longer available. If you’re unsure about your router’s security, there’s a good chance you’re exposing your company to cyber threats.
The American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research finds, “five of every six routers are inadequately updated for known security flaws, leaving connected devices open to cyberattacks that can compromise consumer privacy and lead to financial loss.” Additionally, “32,003 vulnerabilities were found in a sample of 186 routers.”
5. Does your ISP offer business internet services for remote employees?
Remote work opportunities help employers reduce costs, attract high-quality workers, and decrease turnover rates. However, virtual teams need access to high-speed, business-grade internet services to stay productive.
A piecemeal approach, such as using several different providers, can make reimbursements difficult. Instead, look for an ISP that services business properties as well as work-from-home employees.
|Discover how business-class Internet and WiFi can transform your organization by contacting Cox Business today.|
6. Are you using residential equipment in a public setting?
Although residential equipment may work for a small startup, once you move to an office or offer customer WiFi, enterprise-grade hardware is necessary. Business equipment is built to support potentially hundreds of connections and large traffic volumes. Consequently, commercial hardware offers:
- Failover or high-availability features to increase resilience
- More stability than devices designed for use at home
- Compliance with higher security standards
- Greater flexibility in placement and configurations
- Administration tools for reporting and oversight
7. Does your bandwidth support future needs?
Many businesses hastened their digital transformation in 2020 and 2021 and placed more processes online. Others are slowly moving workflows to the cloud [Insert Cloud Solutions Backlink], as resources allow. Each effort sends more data over your network, leading to bandwidth limitations.
Your current bandwidth may suit your company well right now, but as you increase reliance on cloud technologies, you’ll need more bandwidth. Internet providers should offer step-up plans that fit your existing needs and budgets while supporting future growth.
8. Do employees complain about slowness or lag time?
Page load errors or slow load times hurt customer and employee experiences. The connectivity issues may stem from outdated hardware, infrastructure gaps, or a lack of bandwidth. Regardless of the problem’s source, it’s a vital issue to address immediately.
A latency issue won’t improve over time. Instead, business users select ISPs offering Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to ensure optimal experiences regardless of when or where employees and customers use your internet services.
9. Is your business Internet easily scalable?
Switching providers once you’ve outgrown your service is a pain. Moreover, it tends to happen at the worst possible times. Avoid this problem by selecting an internet service provider who offers plans for all business sizes and needs. Doing so helps owners avoid paying more for unused bandwidth and speed during their early years yet doesn’t hamper growth when production increases.
10. When did you last upgrade your internet or equipment?
Since the internet is an essential part of doing business today, it’s easy to forget that it’s not like a utility that automatically adjusts to growing demand. Additionally, not all internet providers regularly offer updated equipment.
If you can’t recall the last time you reviewed your service offerings and hardware, then there’s no better time than the present.
11. Is your business growing?
Has demand for your products or services increased? If so, it’s an excellent time to make sure your internet and equipment can keep up. A slow connection or faulty hardware can tank productivity, or worse, result in lost sales. After all, when you need to process credit cards online or track the status of much-needed supplies, you can’t afford anything to break.
Give your growing business what it needs to thrive — the proper infrastructure, equipment, and bandwidth.
12. Do you have access to an internet solution if your power goes out?
During bad weather or a natural disaster, your customers (and employees) need you more than ever. Business disruptions hurt your bottom line. Yet, most internet connections require electricity. The best ISPs offer solutions to keep your business-critical tools connected to the internet during a short outage.
Backup internet tools provide peace of mind to business owners and decrease downtime. If your current provider doesn’t offer a backup solution, then it may be time to switch to an ISP that does.[Insert Net Assurance CTA here and Link]
13. Do apps or dashboards freeze or crash?
Your teams use various cloud-based tools affected by slow internet speeds. Initially, workers may notice a lag time. But, during peak hours, slow speeds can cause apps and dashboards to freeze or crash. When this happens while employees are on a call with clients or waiting for an important email, it can seriously impact your business.
Since real-time data is vital to decision-making, few companies can afford to wait until after business hours to handle tasks. Your ISP can help you identify high-use periods and come up with affordable solutions to ensure connectivity.
14. Are you closing deals or meeting with clients via video?
TrustRadius reported a 500% jump in search impressions for video and web conferencing software during the first few months of COVID-19. Although companies are moving back to in-person meetings, many appreciate the cost savings and flexibility of video.
Yet, video needs a speedy connection and plenty of bandwidth, especially if multiple employees access video conferencing tools simultaneously. Experts expect the popularity of video applications to continue to grow, meaning business owners require stable connections that support a range of voice and video services.
15. Does your IT team have security concerns?
Cybersecurity is an issue that every business owner faces. However, threats increased substantially over the past few years, leaving no industries untouched. Your IT staff resources can run thin while attempting to secure numerous endpoints and access points. Moreover, outdated network equipment makes security even more challenging.
If your IT team voices cybersecurity concerns or lacks the resources to manage your wireless connection adequately, your internet service provider can help. ISPs assess existing hardware and networks. Along with offering enterprise-grade equipment, they may provide managed services to lighten your IT workload.
16. Are you adding IoT devices to your business spaces?
Business owners turn to the Internet of Things (IoT) to reduce operational costs, track assets, and secure property. From internet-connected Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems to security alarms, IoT gives owners access to critical information from anywhere.
However, automated hardware and tools can silently use your bandwidth, leaving less for other business-critical needs. Your ISP can recommend dual-band routers to ensure your devices have enough bandwidth without affecting your employees’ or customers’ usage.
17. Does your digital transformation include cloud computing and reliance on SaaS?
Software as a Service (SaaS), cloud backup, and cloud computing usage is rising because it’s often cost-efficient to choose cloud-based services over legacy software. However, adding cloud tools can overload your network. By upgrading wireless infrastructure, business owners avoid getting hit with unexpected costs and downtime when transferring workflows to the cloud.
18. Has office productivity decreased?
For business leaders, a drop in productivity may be most noticeable within your IT department. Instead of proactively addressing customer or employee connectivity and security issues, they’re busy reacting to the latest network problem.
If you look closer, you may find that it takes workers longer to connect to cloud software during peak hours or overhear them telling customers to hold while waiting for their device to pull up information.
Upgrading your internet services, infrastructure, and equipment helps your employees make better use of their time.
19. Are your cloud backups reliable and intact?
Automated backup services are great except when a spotty internet connection prevents a full backup or corrupts files. A lack of bandwidth may cause media-heavy files to not fully backup or may timeout if your internet isn’t quick enough to get the job done in the required amount of time.
Upgrading your internet services can ease backup concerns and help get your systems up and running after a disruption.
Next Steps: Upgrade Your Business Internet
If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, then it’s time to reassess your internet service.
|Discover how enterprise-grade infrastructure, devices, and support can transform your organization by contacting Cox Business today. Visit us online at CoxBusiness.com.|
- Business Internet – 19 Questions to Ask to Determine if its Time to Upgrade - November 4, 2021
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- The Breach Within – How to Address the Risk Employees Pose to Your Cybersecurity - September 9, 2021