How To Protect Your Business And Optimise Your Internet Service (And Quality)

August 10th, 2020 - Get new posts sent straight to your inbox, click here.

If your business is experiencing a poor Internet service, then your business is missing out on opportunities. Things get done slower, and the ability for your teams to utilise critical cloud and other Internet services is inhibited. When customers call they suffer dropouts and other service problems, and your online store may suffer outages, costing you money with every second that it’s down. So much of this comes down to an unstable connection or having unreliable customer service from your ISP. The good news is that it can be fixed.

How unreliable Internet costs your business

There are any number of small irritations that an unreliable Internet connection can bring into the organisation. In addition, there are several major problems that, left unchecked, can actually affect the health of the business. These include:

  • Lost business. If customers can’t contact you conveniently (for example, your VoIP phone system is experiencing an outage or poor quality calls) they’re likely to take their business elsewhere. If your website suffers an outage, there’s every chance that a rival website will get the business instead. If you’re slow to respond to emails or support tickets, your company will acquire a reputation for a poor level of service. Research shows that the average cost of downtime is $5,600 per minute, and while that might not be quite as extreme for small businesses, they’re still likely to be numbers that you can ill afford.
  • Lost productivity. Part of the cost quoted above comes not from the lost business from customers, but the lost productivity of workers. Most businesses are so heavily reliant on Internet services that it becomes so completely inefficient (or impossible) to work offline that workers are left twiddling their thumbs. Not only does that mean wasted spending on wages, but also it means that work that employees do to generate wealth for the company is put on pause.
  • Inefficiency. If your Internet is slow it can cost your business, particularly at a time where employees are working remotely. Collaboration is critical to modern business and if cloud storage is slow (making it difficult to upload and share documents), or video conferencing doesn’t work, then your business will still struggle to run optimally.

What can I do to optimise my business Internet?

If you’re experiencing frequent outages or extreme declines in Internet speed, you should be in touch with your ISP to ask them why that’s happening. Not every ISP will offer the same consistently fast Internet speeds, and while Aussie Broadband purchases enough bandwidth wholesale from NBN Co. to provide all customers with stable speeds, even through peak periods, with other ISPs, you may want to talk to their customer service about their standard of service.

It may be that the ISP isn’t the source of the issue, however. There are any number of reasons your business’ Internet might be less reliable or fast than it should be. Some useful optimisation ideas include:

  1. Run regular virus and malware scans – Malicious software has a habit of chewing up a lot of bandwidth with the data that they collect and send back to the hackers. For example, one popular use of malware currently turns a person’s computer into a bitcoin miner – mining for bitcoin requires significant Internet resources, and siphoning that off others via malware helps the hackers earn bitcoins for minimal cost to themselves. Running regular scans and clean-ups will help ensure that the only people using your business’ bandwidth are your own people.
  2. Check how many devices are connected to the network – Each new device has the effect of “splitting” the bandwidth available, so if your business is filled with devices that don’t need to be on the network, kicking them off will help to free up speeds for the devices that do need them.
  3. Consider replacing the modem or router – Modems and routers can slow down over time or can become unreliable, as with any other example of technology. Just as you’ll frequently want to replace the PCs and laptops in your business, you will want to consider an end of life and replacement plan for any modems or routers in your environment.
  4. Set business policy for the use of the Internet – While it might seem generous to allow staff to watch YouTube videos during their lunch breaks, or listen to Spotify while working, the reality is that these applications do chew up a lot of data and bandwidth and can affect the operation of business-critical assets. Setting a policy that prohibits the use of business Internet for recreational purposes will be important as your business grows to a point where there are multiple users online at once.

You may also find that it’s important to upgrade your Internet connection at some point, which is why it’s important to ensure that your Internet plan and policy allows for scalability, so that you can add capacity (speed and data) as you need to. It’s better to future proof your Internet connection by considering future growth plans up-front, and perhaps investing in excess capacity to immediate needs, in order to prevent disruption to your employees and customers by needing to scramble to catch up at a later date.