When selecting an ISP (internet service provider), most companies concentrate majorly on the expense and do not put much thought into other aspects that are important. The aim of each business selecting an ISP must not be to avail the cheapest service but to factor in several parameters and use cost as a differentiator if required. This is an article for the ones considering DIA (dedicated internet access) for business. However, a few parameters must be used when selecting a broadband connection.
If ISP has zero coverage in your business areas or location, you may move on with another service provider. There are many internet service providers that do not cover your area but depend on their infrastructure for delivering the service.
Types of Connection –
There are three major kinds of internet connections that are used. These include VSAT connection, fibre optics and radio. A survey must be conducted to determine which type of connection is best that may be deployed in your region. It is a benefit if an internet service provider can offer both fibre optics and radio connection as a backup service, which is vital for avoiding any network interruptions.
An unreliable internet service provider is not good for business productivity and brand image. Many internet service providers claim they come with 98 percent to 99.99 percent uptime, however, honestly, a few may have downtimes. However, there must be an SLA (service level agreement) that stipulates the service rendered in the case of any downtimes, and compensate the client with discounts or credit periods.
Tip – Check the internet service provider’s site to view and contact their customers for feedback on the service they provide.
As a business, you must know about the bandwidth i.e., the speed that will be apt before you request a quote. This will be based on the users and the internet-linked devices such as video conference devices, servers, etc., applications like CRM, your kind of business web hosting, graphics/video production, e-commerce, etc.
The prudent thing to check here is the upload and download speed in dedicated internet access (DIA). Ideally, the DIA speed should be good for video conferencing.
Tip – If you operate a small business with nearly 5-10 employees that mainly check emails, download/upload files below 30 MB each, browse the web and frequently watch a few videos online, you may require between 10 – 15 Mbps for a functional and smooth operation.
Upstream capacity –
It is an important aspect as a lot of companies are encouraging remote work. Internet service providers should offer remote access, and automated offsite back-ups to allow companies to simply transmit the data and information to their staff wherever they might be.
Customer service and professional field service –
It is vital that the devices are installed properly. Having poor cable can impact the service quality you receive and would result in constant calls to the department of customer service. Also, in case your business needs its internet connection to be up 24 X 7, then you require customer service that is available 24 X 7 wherein you communicate with a real person and not an AI (artificial intelligence).
Let us be honest, errors and problems may occur and how swiftly the ISP attends to your complaint as well as resolve the same must be set as a priority for each business.
Tip – When looking for an internet service provider, ask for awards or certificates to know about their customer service quality as well as get feedback from clients.
Flexibility and equipment quality –
Internet service providers are aware of which access points are of a high standard and come with an in-built firewall. Most likely, they recommend what they consider best and support particularly after the site survey visit.
Contract length –
Generally, the length of most contracts is for 12 months. Despite this, the contract may keep renewing on its own. The benefit is even if you do not make payment when due for a specific reason, the internet service provider still will keep your internet connection up owing to the contract and considering you have a business running. Many ISPs even offer some discount, particularly if the business is not performing well. They can also enhance your bandwidth to meet the high demand. The drawback is you may need to pay a penalty fee in the scenario of early contract termination.
Tip – Before you sign up for a contract, ask for a week’s testing period to assess the quality of the internet. This typically will be granted after you sign in the contract, but your billing will begin post 7 days. Ensure to make your concerns completely known to the internet service provider in writing.
Terms & conditions –
Contracts can simply be adjusted but the terms and conditions cannot be changed for any client. Ensure you thoroughly read the internet service provider’s terms and conditions.
Restrictive policies –
Read your internet service provider’s policies. This is because a few policies may not be very beneficial to you. In this case, if certain policies are not beneficial for you, negotiate for a better deal.
An internet connection is an important information technology infrastructure for any company or business. However, to run a business efficiently, you require more than just the internet. You may require a static IP address, VPN, email service, cloud service, etc.
Ensure to find out if the internet service provider offers such extras so that you may have one ISP partner on whom you can concentrate and understand your business requirements.
The expense is extremely crucial but it should not be the only parameter to factor in when selecting an internet service provider. After factoring in the parameters in relation to your requirements, form a list of internet service providers that may deliver and use the cost as a differentiating factor.
While you must factor in the above factors to select the best internet service provider in your locality, you must also ensure to know the difference between broadband and WI-FI. Knowing the difference will help you make the right decision for your business.