Having a reliable internet connection is every bit as important for small businesses as a company phone line or electricity. Now that most companies are heavily reliant on their technology, an unexpected network outage can leave your staff with nothing to do, customers being unable to reach you, and a long list of other operational problems.
Even if you suffer a network slowdown rather than a full-blown outage, reduced bandwidth will quickly eat away at employee productivity. An hour of downtime could have a ripple effect that costs you dearly. Solidifying network reliability should be one of your top business priorities.
Here are some effective strategies for companies in Charlotte, Gastonia, Pineville, Fort Mill and Rock Hill:
#1. Prioritize your network traffic
Even if you have bandwidth in the gigabits per second territory (which is a lot), certain activities can and will consume every available bit. For example, downloading files, especially with peer-to-peer file-sharing networks will, by default, use all available bandwidth while more important systems like real-time VoIP communications suffer.
To avoid non-essential tasks hogging all your network resources, you can prioritize tasks using software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WANs). These let you prioritize mission-critical tasks, such as telephony and cloud-hosted apps, while allowing you to schedule others, such as data uploads, after office hours.
#2. Upgrade your hardware
If you’re using outdated networking hardware and obsolete protocols, a significant portion of your internet bandwidth will be going to waste. If, for example, you’re using an 802.11g-spec router, the maximum WiFi speed will be capped at 54Mbit/s as opposed to 6.7Gbit/s for the more recent 802.11ad router (which is a lot).
By using the latest networking hardware, you’ll be able to future-proof your company, streamline your migration to the cloud and maximize the use of your internet connection. As a good rule of thumb, you should conduct a network assessment if your routers, wireless range extenders, or any other devices are more than three years old.
#3. Optimize your VPNs
The people with the most talent get to make demands, and many of them are demanding the ability to work from home or on the move. You should be accommodating these demands so you can recruit the best talent, but it will mean addressing some security and productivity concerns. After all, you have no control over the security of the networks your remote employees are using.
An enterprise-grade virtual private network (VPN) optimized for your apps and platforms can reroute corporate traffic through your own network, no matter which device or network your employees are using. This ensures that company data and employee productivity is under your control and not at the mercy of a coffee shop network.
#4. Use the latest broadband technology
Internet speeds are getting faster all the time. Just ten years ago, tens of millions of people throughout North America were still using dial-up. Nowadays, the average internet speed in the US is over 18.7Mbit/s and still growing. But many businesses don’t realize they have access to fiber-optic broadband at many times that speed (which is, you guessed it, a lot!).
Given increasing reliance on cloud-hosted resources, it pays to future-proof your business and optimize performance by going for the fastest broadband technology available in your area. In other words, if you’re still using ADSL or VDSL, then it’s time to upgrade to fiber-optic cable broadband if you have the option to do so.
#5. Work with a managed services provider
Managing your own network takes time and money, and unless you have the in-house expertise necessary to keep everything in check and running smoothly, you likely won’t be getting the most out of the technology available to you.
The best way to streamline your technology infrastructure is to pass on the burden to a third party. By teaming up with a managed services provider (MSP), you can reduce your dependence on in-house computing resources and effectively outsource your IT department.
Spectrumwise helps businesses based in Charlotte, Gastonia, Pineville, Fort Mill and Rock Hill do more with technology by equipping them with the tools and expertise they need to thrive in increasingly competitive markets. Contact us today to organize a free assessment.