Technology can be a headache for businesses owners when they don’t get it right. Poor Wi-Fi can slow down operations and put customers off, unreliable network connections can hinder communications and security breaches can put finances at risk. However, when tech is done well, it can take your business to the next level and make your day-to-day processes go as smoothly as possible. Here are just a few of the ways you can upgrade not only your technology provisions and services, but your business as a whole.
Switch to a VOIP phone line
VOIP, also known as internet telephony or ‘voice over IP’, allows users to make phone calls via the internet rather than with a traditional analogue phone line. The major selling point of VOIP is its cost: it’s cheaper than normal phone lines once everything is set up, and could even mean that you pay nothing at all when making calls – you may even be able to spend hours on a conference call for free!
VOIP systems allow voice and video calls to be made from your smartphone, laptop, iPad, tablet or home PC as if you were in the office. A VOIP system can exist wherever you work and gives you all of the functions you may need remotely – calls will be routed through your office contract. In some cases, you will be able to keep your phone number (it depends on the provider if they can swap it over). The cost of your VOIP system depends on your setup, but app-to-app calls are generally free and any calls provided by a business will come with a monthly cost.
Improve your Public Wi-Fi
Setting up a public Wi-Fi network requires more than just a router and password. You also need to ensure your business broadband package is able to handle the amount of potential traffic that it will encounter from day-to-day. Make sure your internet package offers an unlimited amount of data and very fast speeds, as a slow internet connection will irritate customers and put them off using your service in the future.
It’s vital for any open Wi-Fi networks that the right security measures have been put in place. WPA2 should come as standard with most modern routers and is the most up to date Wi-Fi security. You should also consider changing your passwords often, as well as making sure the router is located away from public access and that the strength of the Wi-Fi covers only your premises. It is also worthwhile adding additional firewalls to provide extra coverage.
Consider a leased line
Whilst standard home broadband makes you share a line with other users nearby, a leased line is a line dedicated to you and your business alone. When sharing a line, the amount of bandwidth available varies depending on how many other people are using the service at the same time, reducing speed at busy times – since leased lines don’t share bandwidth, they don’t have this problem.
For small, medium and growing businesses, a leased line can be the most practical and cost effective choice. The bandwidth they provide is symmetric, which means users get identical upload and download speeds – this can be in excess of 10Gbps.
Amvia’s Leased Line comparison tool AmviaSearch™ lets businesses see all the best deals available from multiple providers, without having to spend time sourcing them individually. The free to use online tool provides a completely unbiased view of all the providers and saves users an average of 37% on their existing contracted rate – alongside all that valuable time that could be better spent on more pressing business matters!
Internet outages can be catastrophic for businesses across a range of industries. If your organisation relies on VOIP telephony, SaaS systems or cloud storage, downtime can have a severe impact on your productivity and even your reputation. Internet failover links can help to mitigate these critical risks – these are secondary internet connections which are setup to ensure valuable service uptime is never lost. Relying on a single connection can be risky, but implementing a secondary connection offers peace of mind – your colleagues can remain productive and your customers can continue to receive the services and products they need.
For example, a fibre link could be the main connection and a wireless connection could be the backup. If properly implemented, failover solutions will automatically switch from the primary connection to the secondary link, while instantly transferring tasks from a failed internet service to a similar or redundant system. An automated failover system can immediately reroute data and communications, which helps to minimize disruption across the business network.
Install a static IP address
Broadband providers will assign your device an IP address whenever it goes online, letting the network know where the data needs to be sent. IP addresses can either be dynamic or static – in most cases they will be the former, which means that eyour IP address will change every time you switch on your computer. However, with a static IP address it will constantly remain the same, providing you with a number that is fixed to your device and your connection only. A static IP address will mean less downtime for you, since dynamic IP addresses run the risk of downtime whenever the IP address refreshes rather than providing a stable connection.
Understand today’s security risks
It’s essential that managers understand the variety of threats that a lack of internet security poses to them. Small businesses are often more vulnerable to attack, as they don’t have the same kinds of budget set aside to protect themselves as large corporations do.
It’s prudent that you write a security policy for your business. All employees should be well versed in the policy and be aware of the implications of non-adherence. It’s also useful to have a policy that covers what to do if breach occurs – if you do fall victim to a cyber attack, you will be glad to have a reference as to which systems need to be closed down and how to retrieve any lost data.