Your connectivity checklist
There are so many different ways to connect to the internet, it’s tricky to know which one to pick. Where do you start when choosing an internet connection that’s right for you? Well, it depends. That’s why we’ve pulled together a checklist of things to consider and questions to ask.
1) What does your business actually need?
First of all, let’s set out what kind of business you are.
You use email occasionally to keep in touch with customers and suppliers, but that’s about it.
You run a business that sells on the internet and takes all its orders online. Your business is totally reliant on your connection.
You use Cloud-based apps like Microsoft 365, Adobe Creative Cloud or a cloud-based phone system. A strong and stable internet connection is vital for you.
So, you’re a slightly less tech-heavy business - like a mechanics for example. You might need a basic connection for browsing the internet or replying to customers online. Or maybe you’re a camping site, with the need to spread your connection far and wide for your customers to use. What if you could take that connection one step further?
Something like Full Fibre broadband would suit you down to the ground. It’s the latest technology, a direct, reliable full fibre connection all the way to your door, not the box on the street. Connecting your business to an astonishing new world of game-changing speeds and unbeatable reliability. So instead of replying to an email, you could offer video calling. A mechanic could show you what’s happening under the bonnet, virtually. Or your camping site could offer free wi-fi to all customers pitching a tent. And all through the power of a full fibre connection. Sounds good, right?
But if you’re a data-hungry, digital powerhouse of a business that does all of its selling online, your connection is vital. So it’s a good idea to think about getting your very own leased line. This kind of internet connection is perfect for businesses who don’t want to share their connection with anyone else and need a dedicated and reliable service. This means no busy periods, no drop in quality, and brilliant upload and download speeds. Cloud-based phone system? No problem for your leased line. Sending huge files? Easy. Virtual meetings? It’s like they’re in the room.
Make sure you flesh out exactly what your company will be using the internet for, and then research the products available to you.
2) What’s available at your premises?
If you have a fixed location, like an office, and you’re interested in broadband, check what’s available at your premises. You may be tempted by the sound of Full-Fibre broadband, with its fast speeds and zippy download times. And it’s being rolled out to more and more premises every day.
Or maybe a dedicated leased line’s more your thing, which we can provide to pretty much every part of the UK. Either way, check what’s available in your area so you can truly get the most out of your connection.
3) Do you have people who work away from the office?
Many businesses aren’t static. People enjoy working flexibly, on the move or in a blend of home working and trips into the office. There are loads of solutions to keep you in touch with your staff and your customers – wherever you are.
Let’s start with Mobile Broadband.
Mobile Broadband uses a SIM card in a 4G/5G hub that connects to the internet, without the need for a full-blown fixed broadband connection. You can then connect your devices (along with those of your colleagues) to the internet – even in the busiest of places. Then everyone can connect to a hub that travels along with you. This would be great for businesses that change fixed locations often, like a construction business moving from site to site. Mobile Broadband moves as easily between places as your tools do.
And then there’s the 5G network that Mobile Broadband runs on. It’s the next generation of mobile technology with the power to work from anywhere at eye-wateringly fast speeds. Imagine you’re walking to a meeting. You need to download the huge file waiting in your inbox to present to your customers. With 5G, it’ll download in seconds. And talking to your customers and colleagues virtually is easier than ever. Calling, texting, video conferencing – all in the blink of an eye with very little lag. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
4) How many sites do you have?
Maybe you’re a business with lots of different offices/sites dotted all over the country. Or maybe you’ve a lot of home workers who need to stay connected to your business network. Why not get a Virtual Private Network (VPN)? It links all your devices together over an internal network to share files, data and apps. It’s private, secure, and only accessible by your business. Your employees can access everything they need, as if they were using your intranet in the office, but from anywhere.
5) Do your customers visit your premises?
We all love free Wifi. And customers are no different. Whether your business is a coffee shop or a camping site. A hairdressers or a hotel. Your customers will love being connected while they’re with you. A lot of connectivity solutions out there come with Guest Wi-Fi, so be sure to check:
- It has built-in security that blocks anything dodgy
- Your private network isn’t affected
- It’s completely free to your customers
Once you have all this in place, your customers will be surfing to their hearts content and your business gets a valuable boost.
6) What would happen if you lost your internet connection?
There’s always a possibility that something could go wrong with your connection. Whether it be an intermittent quiver, or a complete drop out; life’s unpredictable. But a connection that won’t let you down is critical for all businesses – now more than ever. When choosing your connection, it’s important to check what your provider has in place to stop any problems in their tracks. For example, some of our BT Broadband packages come with a 4G failover. This means you’ll never be offline as your broadband automatically switches to 4G while the problem is fixed.
If you’re looking for a leased line internet service, you need to make sure your provider gives you great service if something does go wrong. Make sure you check what Service-Level Agreements (SLAs) your provider has in place. What will it cover? What support will they offer you? Is it 24/7 and UK-based? And how quickly can they get the problem sorted and get you up and running again?
7) The old phone network is finishing in 2025. Are you ready for digital phone calls?
In 2025, the UK’s outdated public switched telephone network (PSTN) and Integrated Services over a Digital Network (ISDN) are being replaced. We’re all going digital, with a move to an Internet Protocol (IP) network. Your business could be affected if you don’t have the connection ready for when the big switchover happens.
But you don’t need to wait until 2025. You can reap the benefits of digital IP phones right now. Why not get your business future-ready?
It’s not just a huge, country-wide network change that could impact your future. Your own business is always in flux, getting bigger or smaller all the time. When choosing your new connection keep in mind:
- Can your network handle new users and devices coming in as your business expands?
- Do you have a connection that can span over multiple sites as they open?
- Are you paying money for a connection that you’re not using anymore?
- If new tech comes along, can your connection embrace it?
- Can your connection manage the traffic that comes with having a cloud-based service?
Make sure your business network can adapt and bend with you.
8) What about cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity threats are growing. It’s vital to make sure your connection provider offers a secure network for your business.
- Does your package come with security experts on hand to offer advice and help combat cyberthreats and attacks?
- Does it protect your business data with encrypted cloud backup services?
- If the unthinkable does happen and all your data is wiped, is it easy to restore from its back up?
- Does your internet service come with a firewall and intrusion detection and prevention?
- Is there in-built malware protection technology?
- Can you control your employee and guest content so visitors can only visit websites you want them to access?
If your connection has all this, you’re all set for any malicious hackers to come your way. You’re ready for them.
Once you’ve got all of this under your belt, you’ll be ready to pick your internet connection. But if you do need any more info, we’d be more than happy to help. Give our experts a call. They’ll help you create a perfect connection for your business; future-ready, agile, and fast.