Nathan Hill-Haimes, the founder of Amvia, a privately-owned, voice, data and cloud application provider based in Sheffield, shares his view on the top things small business owners should think about when selecting phone and broadband deals.
As your business grows and develops, it is natural that your phone and broadband requirements are likely to change. Coupled with the evolving nature of the workplace, multiple locations, increased security threats and flexible working patterns, choosing the right solution can be confusing. Here are some tips for deciding on the best phone and broadband solution for your business.
The rate of your broadband
The broadband in your workplace is likely to be much quicker than your broadband at home. Business broadband packages also provide a greater variety of choices, for example ADSL, fibre or a leased line. It is important to remember that choosing providers offering high speeds can often mean your coverage will be limited. Most business broadland suppliers offer between 20Mbps to 80Mbps, however if you are looking for faster speeds it would be much more useful to opt for a leased line which will give you upload and download speeds of up to 1Gbps.
Dynamic v fixed IP
Small businesses might find dynamic IP addresses, those that change frequently and make up home broadband services, sustainable. However, larger businesses, or those with intricate and specific needs, are more likely to opt for a fixed IP address. Running CCTV systems, website servers, email management and working from home are examples of where a fixed IP address would be more useful.
Fixed IP addresses, however, do come with their limitations such the risk of cyber attacks. Keeping your IP address the constantly the same makes it easier for hackers to track. Issues with hackers can be hard to tackle, especially as once a static IP address is assigned, it is difficult to get changed. Despite these issues, most see the pros of fixed IP addresses as beneficial enough to counteract the cons.
Making sure that you have secure IT security will mean the risk of cyber attacks will be minimal.
Making sure there is proficient customer service
Making sure your broadband service also provides great customer service will help ease any worries if things go wrong. Businesses rely on access to the internet for the everyday running of their companies so the loss of service can cause major issues. Choosing a broadband service with high quality resources, for example 24/7 support teams or live chat options, will mean any issues can be dealt with swiftly.
Today, options exist to help you maintain an internet connection even if you face broadband difficulties. Some providers offer 4G as an automatic back up, meaning even if you lose service you will still be able to connect to the internet. Furthermore, using an SLA (Service Level Agreement), which can be implemented by your provider, will also help you limit downtime periods.
Understanding the best type of broadband for your business will ensure things run smoothly and efficiently.
Smaller businesses, such as those ran at home, are likely to require a stable internet connection. If you are making frequent conference calls but rarely use the internet other than to browse and send emails, a simple ADSL is likely to be efficient. If there are several employees at your business and internet usage is higher, it will most likely be more effective to opt for a fibre optic solution that will give you a more stable connection.
Those such as salons, small shops or independent shops are more likely to only use the internet to process transactions. A simple ADSL line will suffice, and is also cost effective, however, if music is being streamed then it is best to opt for an unlimited download option.
Cafes and restaurants
As customers are likely to want to use the WiFi at your establishment, it is best to opt for fibre optic broadband to increase speed and usage. Offering free WiFi to customers is also likely to draw customers in as remote employees and students prefer to work in such spaces. Making sure you have the correct broadband will improve the situation for both customer and staff, keeping everyone happy!
Office spaces with several employees are also better off opting for fibre optic broadband that provides unlimited downloads, additional phone lines and a fixed IP address. If you are expecting your business to grow and take on new employees in the near future, it is important to find a solution that allows for adjustments.
Larger offices with lots of people requiring easy and quick access to the internet at the same time will require a leased line or ethernet solution. Larger offices are also likely to see more conference calls, remote servers and other activities needing a more reliable connection. It is therefore worth investing in a better quality connection.
Searching around for the best deal, and researching the best type of connection, is therefore certainly worth your time. A good internet service is more likely to make your business more efficient and stress-free. Make sure to obtain several quotes before settling on a provider to make sure you get the best deal for what is right for you.