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With ever-more business and operational processes moving online, Nomis Connections look at the growing importance of a strong, reliable and robust business broadband connection.

Can you rely on your business broadband?

The modern business environment is rife with competition – especially when a significant chunk of your business activity takes place online. Technology is playing an increasingly important role in all types of enterprise, and it’s fair to say that in 2015, if you don’t have an online presence, then you don’t have a business at all. No matter what industry you’re trying to make waves in, practically all of your customers – both existing and returning – will be validating your worth by what they can find out about you on Google and social media.

And it’s not just your business presence, but your business operations that are increasingly being handled online – with core systems and processes including accounts, storage, Customer Relationship Management and telephony moving to the cloud. Indeed, the web now makes up a huge part of working life.

One connection, many paths

Many firms are making increased use of SaaS (Software as a Service), IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and BaaS (Backup as a Service) solutions, all of which are absolutely dependent on a reliable broadband connection at all times – that’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. For instance, it’s quite probable that you will be running Microsoft Office 365 at your firm, or otherwise making use of Google Apps to handle your administration, report writing, calendar and email. These simple yet vital administrative tasks now rely on a live connection, and without one – even just for a few hours – productivity on both the front and back ends of your business will suffer.

In addition, your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software may also be running in the cloud, and quite possibly your telecommunications too if you have made the decision to move away from PBX (Private Branch Exchange) to a Hosted PBX or VoIP communications platform (and if you haven’t already, you most certainly will eventually).

On top of all of this, if you’ve got an online store of any description where customers are completing online transactions with you on a regular basis, the traffic weight and volume you will be experiencing, combined with the security requirements that are essential for such processes, will be putting even more strain on your site server.

Is your broadband really this reliable?

It is of course imperative that performance or speed doesn’t suffer for your successes. When managing a business, there are many, many decisions that will have to be made on a daily basis. As varying and challenging as these decisions may appear on the surface, they will invariably all have one common factor at the heart of their concern – your bottom line.

Indeed, deciding where costs can be cut will be right at the top of the list of priorities when trying to improve profit margins. And many businesses can often make the mistake of thinking that their broadband package is one such area in which corners can be cut.

Business, of course, is all about taking risks, and, as a businessperson and entrepreneur, you will already be acutely aware of this – you wouldn’t be where you are today if you had always played it safe. But, when it comes to running a growing business that, by necessity, relies almost exclusively on the internet for practically all of its business operations – including income – then opting for the cheap £30.99 a month package is extremely risky indeed.

Productivity

In your haste to cut the costs of your outgoings, it can be very tempting to shop around for the cheapest broadband deal that you can find and just plump for that – what harm can it do, right? This is a dangerous attitude to adopt. Cheap broadband might seem attractive at first glance, but you really need to take into serious consideration exactly what compromises you will be making by opting for the cheaper service.

Your business requires broadband in order to function, and therefore it is a business grade broadband package that you need to be utilising. Not all broadband is created equally, and when you come across providers that are trying to peddle identical packages for both consumer and business, then alarm bells should start ringing. At Nomis Connections, many of our services are exclusively for businesses and not available to households at all.

Without a reliable connection that will handle all of your business requirements right around the clock, it’s simply a false economy to opt for a slightly cheaper deal if all it’s going to do is let you down time and time again.

When a broadband service is interrupted, office productivity can literally grind to a halt. This means no email, no banking, no cloud applications, reduced access to documents and more. In this sense, your broadband connection is as vital to the running of your business as the power supply. No electricity means no computers – and so does no broadband.

Speed, performance, reliability, security…

True, business grade broadband can often be slightly more expensive than its domestic equivalent – but only slightly. And the extra that you pay will ensure that you’re enjoying faster speeds, greater reliability, superb customer support, improved security and prioritised connections.

Indeed, this last point is crucial. With business grade broadband, business traffic is prioritised over consumer traffic during peak times. This means that when a consumer service might suffer from ‘throttling’ – i.e. when one service is slowed in order to prioritise others – a business service will remain consistent and not appear to struggle.

For example, during school holidays, say, or even at the weekends, there tends to be an increase in local internet traffic as lots of young people all head online at the same time to engage in social media, play games or what have you. If your business relies on a consumer-grade broadband package, then your connection will be up against all of this additional traffic that’s vying for space in your WAN (Wide Area Network). But, with a business package, your traffic will be prioritised over any of this consumer traffic that’s coming through, thusly ensuring that your will always be in receipt of the best possible performance at the most vital times.

…And scalability…

You may already be in a position where you believe that the broadband package that you are currently relying on is good enough for your current business purposes. If the package that you’re presently running is reasonably reliable and performs at an adequate speed for your requirements, then it may be the case that you’ve got everything that you need – for now.

However, one important consideration that you must take into account is how well prepared you are to scale. Sure, your broadband package might be perfectly adequate for the immediate future, but what about in one, two and five years’ time? Your business will undoubtedly grow over that period, and so it’s important that you are signed up to a service that is able to grow with you. So, ask yourself – how scalable is my current broadband package?

…And a strong SLA

Yes, just as important as fast, reliable, secure and scalable broadband is making sure that you’ve got a strong SLA (Service Level Agreement) to go with it.

An SLA is a contractual agreement between the broadband provider and the consumer that guarantees that levels of the contracted service are maintained at all times. Furthermore, the SLA will ensure that a reasonable restoration time is provided should an MSO (Major Service Outage) occur. The SLA requires the service provider to work within the terms of the agreement, otherwise the customer can claim compensation for any loss of service or downtime that strays beyond the SLA’s ambit.

What this means for your business is that you will have a cast iron Disaster Recovery (DR) plan in place. If an MSO does occur and you have and you are in possession of an SLA, then you will have a guarantee that the service will be fixed within a given timeframe. Since most modern businesses are heavily reliant on ‘constant connectivity’, then an SLA is very often the only solution – your provider will be liable if it breaches the terms of the SLA, and so it is clearly in its interest to ensure that this doesn’t happen.

What about a backup connection?

Many businesses cannot risk any downtime whatsoever, and so a fail-over connection might be required. This means that your business will essentially be furnished with a secondary DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) connection, which will, either manually or automatically, be used as the backup connection if an MSO is detected on the primary connection. For businesses that don’t want to even contemplate any downtime whatsoever, then a fail-over solution is a worthwhile investment.

What are the next steps to ensure uptime protection?

If you have recognised that speed and reliability should be reviewed for your business, do look at your options to upgrade to a business grade broadband package that comes with an SLA. Indeed, you can get in touch with us if you require further advice, help or information about your business broadband service, or use our Get a Quote page to make contact with our dedicated team, who are on hand to give you an honest and professional no obligation consultation.

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