How to choose a small business internet service provider
It’s hard to imagine the world without the internet today. Not only does it allow us to personally connect with friends and loved ones, but it’s completely essential to businesses across the globe.
Your customers and employees depend on your internet connectivity — whether it’s an online service or an IP phone system. Without the internet, your business would be a shell of productivity.
So, check out this guide on choosing the best small business internet service provider (ISP) for a top-class internet connection that’s crucial for your business…
Top Considerations When Choosing a Small Business Internet Service Provider
Before you dive into choosing a service provider, it’s worth understanding that there are numerous types of internet connectivity available today.
The type you choose impacts the quality and speed of your internet connection. Unfortunately, not all regions of the world have access to every type of internet connection. If you’re based in the Netherlands, check out https://www.mobielversterkers.nl/ to complement your network connectivity.
1. The Type of Internet Connectivity
Ultimately, the service provider you choose should endeavor to offer you as many choices as possible:
• Cable internet — one of the most popular and widely accessible options, provided through a cable company
• DSL internet — often comes with speed limitations and is provided through a telecommunications company
• Satellite internet — a satellite dish bounces your internet connection off satellites, and is ideal for more rural locations
• Fixed wireless internet — your internet connection is provided through radio signal from a modem to a tower, however, nature and the elements can often interfere with the signal
• Fiber optic internet — this is a fast, efficient, and reliable option, providing internet speed of up to 1Gbps, however not all regions have access to fiber optic equipment
Nowadays, fiber optic internet is gaining traction in its popularity. Not just because of the higher bandwidth and speed, but because it offers no loss of signal and fiber is harder to hack into than copper wiring.
2. What Other Essential Services Do They Provide?
When it comes to choosing an ISP, it’s not only about the connection, bandwidth, and speed they offer your business. They should offer a number of complementary, support services, too.
Look for an ISP that offers services that not only benefit your business but your customers too. Generally, these services should be offered as a bundle, i.e. a phone, business TV, and email bundle. Paying for these necessary services as a bundle can save you tons of money in the long-run.
Another important consideration is build-in networking, such as an Ethernet service. This means the ISP will handle your internal and external networking needs. This lowers the complexity of internet and network management throughout your entire business. It allows you to concentrate on the core of your business, while an ISP takes care of the rest.
Go for an ISP that offers a consultancy type of service. In other words, they should inform you of updates and the best decisions to make for your business connectivity needs.
3. Do They Offer You the Bandwidth and Speed You Need?
There’s nothing more inconvenient or frustrating than slow internet. Let’s be honest, it reveals people’s true colors! This is especially important when it comes to your daily business operations. In the world we live in today, time is money, and the slower your internet, the less productive your business could be.
With this in mind, it’s not always wise to go for a cheaper package and slower connectivity. This is an area you should designate a substantial portion of your IT budget and choose the best internet package for your business.
You need to make sure the ISP you choose can keep up with your connectivity needs, too. Make sure to ask about throttling and bandwidth caps. Ask if they will lower your bandwidth rate at certain times of the day. It’s important to find out what these limits are so you make can the best decision for your business.
4. How Robust is Their Security Protocol?
Another top-shelf consideration should be internet security when choosing an ISP. This is another area you should not skimp on when determining your IT budget.
Make sure the ISP you choose offers delivers anti-spam, anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-malware protection. Find out what types of connections are covered in the package they offer.
Don’t forget about backup protection too. This is essential in a devastating situation such as a network or system crash. What type of coverage and support do they offer in this event? If you are still saving files onto an external hard drive, it’s time to consider moving all your business files to cloud storage. This is a feature an ISP should also provide.
5. What Level of Support Do They Offer Your Customers?
Lastly, and most importantly, an ISP should offer you 24/7 support – no matter the situation. Due to the fact that most businesses rely on the internet, ISP support is a high priority and a matter of urgency in your day-to-day operations.
Basically, there’s too much at stake to not have the support you need. Your employees, business sales, and customers all rely on your internet connection. So if it goes down, make sure you have that safety net in the form of a reliable and knowledgable ISP.
Look for a Service Level Agreement (SLA) from your ISP, which guarantees uninterrupted service and uptime. Then, consider their plan-of-action in the event your connectivity is interrupted. What type of solution do they offer? The bottom line is that you should fully understand the disaster plan, should you ever need it.
Finally, make sure the ISP also offers dedicated support lines for your customers. The tech support personnel that offer should be experts at understanding networking and connectivity issues.
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