Eric Schmidt of Alphabet Inc. said it best when he described the internet as “the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.” For small business owners, simply figuring out the basics can be an anarchic experience, to say the least.
Determining the internet needs of your workplace can be a daunting task. However, with some basic knowledge, entrepreneurs can make informed decisions. Here are some tips to keep in mind when exploring internet options for your business:
Give Employees Adequate Internet Access
Most desk jobs require an internet connection. Business owners should first ensure that their internet service provider offers internet speeds that suit the needs of the business. Internet speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Advertised internet speeds are commonly presented as (Download speed) X (Upload speed). A common cable internet connection speed, for example, is 5Mbps X 1Mbps. When browsing your options, keep the following factors in mind:
● How many employees will be accessing the internet at any time?
Your internet needs vary depending on the number of employees who will be using it. If only a dozen or so employees are expected to be using the internet, a decent internet speed would be around 2.56Mpbs. Larger businesses with approximately thirty users would require a speed of 7.68Mpbs to prevent notable slowdown. Keep your number of users in mind as you select your internet plan and service provider.
● How much content does your business need to download/upload?
If employees need the internet to simply access emails and memos, a modest internet speed should suffice. However, if they need to stream videos, engage in video conference calls, and quickly navigate online, a higher download speed is required. Another consideration is upload speed. Companies focused on content creation (such as producing videos and images) tend to require higher upload speeds than other businesses. A T1, T2, or T3 connection would be appropriate for these businesses since they have a much higher upload speed.
● Will employees need to work on-the-go?
If your business will require contact employees on-the-go, it makes sense to invest in a business plan with a cellphone provider. While finding a good price is important, you should also consider data needs. Will employees need to access the internet while they are away from the office? If so, an unlimited data plan gives employees flexibility on the job.
Protect Your Network and Data
As noted by Boston University, recent technological advances have led to “an explosive growth in the amounts and diversity of data”. Given these recent changes, it is necessary for many businesses to contract an IT professional. Consulting such an expert when planning your work infrastructure is a wise move as well. The university, which offers an online program for those seeking a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems, argues that maintaining a grasp on recent trends on IT is an essential component to success for any business.
If your business network is compromised, important data such as customer records or financial transactions could be accessed by cybercriminals. Using antivirus software and a firewall can prevent such problems, but it is necessary to educate employees about acceptable internet behavior. This will lower the chances of your network being compromised through shady links or suspicious sites. Not only could lost data lead to lost profits, it could also lead to lawsuits. If data is lost, data recovery experts can help businesses recover lost files.
With this information in mind, you can avoid technical hiccups at your workplace. Choosing an appropriate ISP and a connection speed will help you keep work running smoothly while not wasting money on unnecessary bandwidth. Protecting your network will prevent cybercriminals from interrupting productivity and keep customers happy. Taking some time to learn about your internet needs prior to signing any contracts can save a lot of money and time in the future.
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