The Internet is often a critical component of your business. It allows your employees to communicate with each other and with customers. It serves as a medium for your website and social media platforms. You might even run an online-only business, which means a good-quality internet connection is central to your business model. Given how important your internet connection is, here are four questions you should ask yourself to choose the best internet service for your business.
1. What providers are available in your area?
Not all business internet providers are created equal or provide services where your business is located. Read reviews on Google or Yelp about internet service providers in your area to get a sense of who has better offerings and better customer service. Another thing to research is which ISPs provide which services. You can get an internet connection in many ways, such as cable, DSL, satellite, and fibre-optic. Not every ISP offers all of these connections. If you have a particular connection type in mind, be sure to check that your preferred ISP offers that service.
2. What strength of connection do you need?
Internet providers can offer connections that are classified as either “Best Effort” or “Guaranteed Performance.” “Best Effort” connections, like cable and DSL, can vary in connection strength throughout the day based on the number of users in the area or how internet-intensive their tasks are. You can spot a “Best Effort” connection by looking for terms like “up to” in the offer (for example, “up to 300 Mbps”). “Best Effort” connections are generally the cheaper option. If your team only uses the internet for basic surfing and email, you might not even notice the fluctuations throughout the day.
“Guaranteed Performance” connections, on the other hand, are stable regardless of internet activity. These connections are governed by a service level agreement, which is a contract that explains the guaranteed speed and service support for your connection. While “Guaranteed Performance” connections are more pricey, it might be worth it if a stable internet connection is a pivotal part of your work.
3. What internet speed do you need?
There is a wide range of internet speeds available. You can identify how much speed you need based on how many employees you have and how internet-heavy their work is. On the lower end, you might only need a speed of 15-20 Mbps if you have a couple of employees who are doing basic web browsing and email. If you have closer to 20 or 30 employees who are all working around the same time, a slightly higher speed like 75-100 Mbps might be best for your business. This speed would be able to handle a crowded connection with video and audio streaming. If you have a very large staff and use your internet to host web conferences, e-commerce sites, or downloading or uploading large files, you could increase your speed to the range of 100-150 Mbps.
4. What other services do you need?
Some ISPs offer additional services beyond simply supplying an internet connection. Some providers offer an email domain that can be customized to fit your business and ensures that all employees have a consistent email address. You might be able to bundle a phone connection into your internet, which can be a nice way to reduce the number of bills you need to remember. If security is at the top of your mind, you could look for an ISP that provides anti-virus and anti-malware services. Some even provide a backup service in the event of a system crash. Consider what your business needs in addition to an internet service, and try to find an ISP that meets those needs.