How to Create an IT Disaster Plan to Prepare for California Wildfires

How To Create Your IT Disaster Plan to Prepare for California Wildfires - GeoLinks.com

How to Prepare Your IT for Wildfires in California

Wildfires in California are a serious concern for any business. They present both a danger to the people working at your organization and to your operations as a whole. Many businesses create plans for the former concern, which is, of course, the most important. However, the latter, continuing operations during and after a wildfire, can be overlooked, especially concerning IT. Below are some tips on creating an IT disaster plan for California wildfires.

1) Analyze Your Vulnerabilities

Consider how your information technology would be affected by a natural disaster. For example, do you have server hardware on-site in your main office? Do you rely on Internet connectivity to work? If you have IT resources outside of your headquarters, where are they located?

Understanding your vulnerabilities is essential to creating an IT disaster management plan. By thinking through what would happen if your physical location(s) were shut down, you can prepare your business for lasting operations during and after a wildfire.

Keep in mind that IT disaster planning doesn’t just revolve around safeguarding computers and data. More important are the essential personnel who help keep your IT infrastructure running. Hopefully, you already have a plan in place to ensure the safety of your staff. If you don’t, that should be your number one priority.

Once you have planned for your team’s safety, consider how they will resume work during and after the disaster. Will they need to connect remotely? If so, how will you enable them to do so?

2) Set Priorities

In the event of a disaster, there are scenarios that may prohibit your company from immediately resuming full operations. To determine what business elements are most important to get up and running again quickly, set and communicate priorities beforehand.

For example, perhaps the top priority is to get everyone connected to your network and each other again. Or it may be to ensure your proprietary data is both secured and accessible.

Understanding these priorities will help you to create your IT disaster prevention and disaster recovery plan. It will also help your team members to maintain clarity in the event that things don’t go exactly as planned. They can make decisions on the fly more easily when they have pre-determined goals.

3) Plan Redundancy

One of the most important elements of any IT disaster management plan is redundancy. IT resources can become unavailable in the event of a disaster. This can include hardware hosted at your place of business, overall network infrastructure, off-site resources, and more.

For example, if your business currently uses a terrestrial-based Internet connection, you may find yourself disconnected in the event an earthquake or wildfire damages nearby network infrastructure. Unfortunately, repairing damage can take a long time depending on the extent of the destruction. A great solution to avoid this vulnerability is to have two Internet circuits, a fiber optic connection (terrestrial) and a fixed wireless circuit (air), that issues automatic failover via a SD-WAN device in the event one experiences an outage. Having duel Internet circuits also ensures a business’s hosted VoIP connections remain active during a wildfire.

All in all, establishing IT redundancy ensures business continuity in the case of a wildfire or other natural disaster.

4) Plan for Data Continuity

No matter what business you are in, data is important. Perhaps your business is quite literally based on collecting and analyzing data. Perhaps you use customer information to make critical marketing decisions. Regardless of how you use the data, having access to critical business information is vital.

If you let it be a vulnerability, you may find your bottom line significantly impacted when a wildfire hits California.

Thus, cloud-based data back-ups are an absolute must for any business. If your business isn’t currently leveraging the cloud, it is time to get started. Additionally, you should have at least one back up drive located off-site. Issuing nightly backups of your key data is also strongly encouraged.

5) Evaluate Your Insurance

For many businesses, IT resources represent a significant investment. You need the proper insurance coverage to ensure that you can reestablish your operations promptly without risking your cash flow. This is especially true for California businesses given the state’s frequency of catastrophic events including wildfires and earthquakes.

Policies such as business interruption, loss of use, and extended coverage are worth significant considerations for any CA-based business. Insurance should be a component of every business’s IT disaster plan.

Getting Ready for the Next Wildfire

Whether you are ready or not, you may be affected by a wildfire in the very near future. It is best to have a plan in place so you’re prepared to handle the situation. Having a strong IT disaster management plan can make all the difference in the world.

Finding the right resources, such as GeoLinks’ GeoLit Bundle, will help you ensure your business continues operations even after a disaster.

How SD-WAN Can Benefit Your Multi-Location Business

How SD-WAN Can Benefit Your Multi-Location Business - GeoLinks.com

Software-defined wide area network technology (SD-WAN) is a powerful tool for businesses that rely on the Internet to operate. It is especially beneficial for multi-location businesses. Of course, every company’s needs are a little different. So, is SD-WAN right for your business?

Read on to learn more about its benefits and uses for multi-location businesses.

What Is SD-WAN?

A wide area network (WAN) is a telecommunications network that covers a large geographical area. Unlike a local area network (LAN), a WAN can connect devices and networks to the Internet and cloud-based service providers. Its primary purpose in the business world is to connect an organization’s locations together so that they can work securely and efficiently.

Software-defined wide area networks use software to simplify the delivery of the WAN. It is an answer to the problems of two prior technologies: traditional WANs and multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). WANs spread over large areas tend to suffer from connection quality issues. MPLS addresses this but is expensive and slow to deploy.

SD-WAN offers many technical advantages over traditional WANs without all the logistical drawbacks of MPLS. Unlike a conventional WAN which relies on a hardware network, SD-WAN, such as the service offered by GeoLinks, can be managed virtually.

What Are the Benefits of SD-WAN for a Multi-Location Business?

Multi-location businesses can utilize SD-WAN to connect their headquarters with outside branches. This may be an organization with people working in offices all over the globe or it may be a retailer with a few locations around a city. Unlike MPLS which requires the use of a singular telecom across every location, SD-WAN is carrier agnostic allowing you to customize your bandwidth per location.

A business in Los Angeles with satellite locations in San Bernardino and San Diego, for example, may need to run applications that work efficiently between all three sites. SD-WAN would enable them to do so, simply and cost-effectively. If the team wanted to open another location in Riverside, SD-WAN would make connecting the new office seamless.

These are some of the reasons to choose SD-WAN to connect your business locations:

  • Cost Savings: Relative to other modern WAN options such as MPLS, SD-WAN is less costly to deploy and to maintain.
  • Efficient Routing: More traditional technologies such as MPLS are not routed based on application demand. SD-WAN, conversely, uses optimized path routing to ensure prioritized applications have the best possible performance.
  • Fast Deployment: SD-WAN is software-based and delivered through the cloud. Requiring just an edge device installed on site, setting it up is both fast and cost-effective. This makes it very simple to quickly connect another branch or remote office.
  • More Stable Internet: Businesses that rely on the Internet to operate can benefit from SD-WAN as it can seamlessly combine multiple Internet connections. Capable of jitter buffering, forward error packet correction, dynamic link steering, and issuing automatic failover to a backup connection in the event one connection fails, SD-WAN ensures an organization has true business continuity. For certain businesses, this can make a critical difference.
  • Centralized Monitoring: SD-WAN offers multi-location businesses functionality to monitor the network in real-time from anywhere. So, your headquarters can keep an eye on all network activity and remotely address any issues. This significantly simplifies network maintenance when compared to a hardware-based solution.

Which Multi-Location Businesses Benefit From SD-WAN?

Which Multi-Location Businesses Benefit From SD-WAN? - GeoLinks.com - Rodeo Drive

  • Multi-location car dealerships

  • Banks with multiple branches

  • Hotel and restaurant chains

  • Marketing and Ad Agencies with offices spread nationally

  • Schools, Hospitals, Libraries and other Municipalities

  • Multi-location retailers

Basically, any business with multiples branches or offices can benefit from SD-WAN. It is especially helpful for organizations that run cloud services or wish to house and mitigate all IT operations within a single hub.

Most businesses today rely heavily on the Internet. Having automatic failover to back-up connections safeguards your business from experiencing any perceived outages. Therefore, if lost productivity from a dropped Internet connection would substantially harm your business, SD-WAN may be for you.

Ultimately, SD-WAN is the best solution for fast-growing California-based businesses looking to establish a cost-effective, scalable, and efficient wide area network.

Interest in learning more about GeoLinks’ SD-WAN offering? Talk to a GeoLinks team member today!

Get to know GeoLinks’ Helpdesk Manager Michael Hurst

Get to know GeoLinks’ Helpdesk Manager, Michael Hurst

1. Let’s start with the basics, what’s your role at GeoLinks?

As Helpdesk Manager, I oversee the Helpdesk, which is responsible for responding to client support tickets, and assisting our FieldOps technicians on installations.

2. What’s your favorite part about working for GeoLinks?         

The company culture and environment. Everyone here takes great pride in the work that we do. We have created a friendly, family-like environment where we can share ideas with each other with ease. The game room and arcade are a plus as well!

3. What came before GeoLinks; did you always know you wanted to be an engineer? 

Not always! I’ve always had an interest in technology, primarily through playing video games. Prior to this job I was working for a video production company, at first assisting with inventory, later moving to the installation side. It was there where my interest in technology expanded and eventually led me to pursue a career in Networking.

Get to Know Michael Hurst4. What makes GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ network different from other fixed wireless networks?

We’re always working to expand our already diverse network to cover areas other providers don’t service. In addition, we constantly work to improve our existing network.

5. Outside of work…what is your favorite past time or hobby?

It’s too hard to pick just one! I think most people in the office know I’m a big sports fan. Go Niners and Giants! Other than that I’m really passionate about playing music, and I’ve been training on Muay Thai kickboxing the last year or so.

Michael Hurst GeoLinks6. What’s something most of your coworkers don’t know about you?

I spent part of my childhood in England, from the ages of 5 to 8, and my entire extended family still live there. I try to make it back as often as I can.

7. What does an average day as GeoLinks Helpdesk Manager look like?

I work closely with our engineering team to ensure our support tickets are handled with care and in a timely manner. I also work closely with our operations managers to ensure our new circuit installations go smoothly.

8. You are allowed to do anything you want, anywhere in the world, for one whole day…what do you do, and where do you go?

Either hang out on the beach and surf in Maui, or see the sights in New York. I’ve never been.

9. Do you have a favorite quote or mantra you live by? Please share!

It’s simple, treat others with the same kindness and respect in which you wish to be treated.

10. What’s next…what are you most excited for when you think of your future with GeoLinks?

I look forward to seeing our network continue to diversify and expand, and I look forward to helping our company grow however I can.

Get to know Michael Hurst GeoLinks

Want to join the GeoLinks’ team? Learn more about your current openings on our Careers Page.

Get to know GeoLinks’ Director of Network Operations Kevin Malone

Kevin Malone GeoLinks.com

1. Let’s start with the basics, what’s your role at GeoLinks?

My role is Director of Network Operations. I oversee Network Operations (Netops) which consists of the GeoLinks’ Customer Helpdesk, NOC department, as well as Systems/IT.

2. What’s your favorite part about working for GeoLinks?

Hard to pick just one. The friendly cultural atmosphere, constantly being challenged, and the fast-paced, never slow environment. Things are never boring.

3. You were one of the first GeoLinks employees to be hired (back when the company was California Internet); how has the company evolved since you first started? 

It has changed quite a bit, from having meetings in a single office room sitting on the floor to where we are now. I remember how big of a deal it was when we first got logo’d shirts and graphics on our only company vehicle.  At that point we were legit!

4. What makes GeoLinks’ different from other Internet Service Providers?

I would have to say the people. From the very start the company was born with a friendly culture of respect. All businesses are about making money but what really matters is how you go about it.  The founders and management of GeoLinks believe above all else that providing the best work environment for the employees fosters success. For this reason I would say it’s why GeoLinks is different than any other company, not just other fixed wireless providers.

5. Outside of work…what is your favorite past time or hobby?

kevin malone geolinks.com

I have many. From shooting pistols and rifles at the range, to enjoying my Remote Control vehicles (Cars/Trucks/Rock Crawlers, GAS and Electric), to working on my ‘68 Chevy pickup.

6. What’s something most of your coworkers don’t know about you?

From age 7 to age 14 I studied Taekwondo. I was a wild child, and it was my parents idea of instilling structure, or at least a way to get rid of my energy. I made it as far as 2nd degree Black belt. My mother at one point had an entire room of trophies from sparring tournaments I competed in throughout California.

7. GeoLinks’ sales team often states that the company “reverse engineers” every circuit. Coming from the technical side of things, can you expand upon what this means exactly?

I think what we mean is we try to look at the details. Many ISP’s simply have a blanket area they say can be served. They’ll tell a customer “yes we can serve you” without doing due diligence. This often causes delays down the road. It’s a matter of considering all the factors before saying yes. When we say yes we can do something, we have put the circuit design through the paces and made sure it’s both possible and that we can support it. It makes us as a company true to our word. When we say “Yes, we can serve you”, we mean it.

8. You are allowed to do anything you want, anywhere in the world, for one whole day…what do you do and where do you go? 

Funny you ask, I plan on doing this next year! Wherever I go, I would want my friends and family with me as that is the most important thing in life. I would want to go to a place I find beautiful and genuinely enjoy every second I’m there. While we’re there, why not have a big party! That being said, my fiancé and I visited Ireland this year for vacation. Being almost 50% Irish, seeing my roots has always been on my bucket list. We planned the trip ourselves, flew in, and rented a car. We then traveled the island visiting all of its wonders at our own pace. We loved it so much we decided we’re going to get married there next year. We’ve invited all our friends and family and plan to have an awesome day none of us will ever forget.

9. Do you have a favorite quote or mantra you live by? Please share!

I like to watch the MotorTrend channel on Youtube. It’s a series of car shows, and at the end of each show they display a quote saying “Get Busy Living”.  I interpret this as don’t get stuck in the routines of life, and do what makes you happy!

10. What’s next…what are you most excited for when you think of your future with GeoLinks? 

Growing companies, especially fast-growing technical ones, always have unique and difficult challenges. If I’m not being challenged, I don’t feel like I’m growing. From my experience, that will never be an issue working here. From the beginning to now it’s insane how the company has developed; I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

kevin malone geolinks

5 Disaster Prevention Tips for California Businesses

5 Disaster Prevention Tips for California Businesses - GeoLinks.com

5 Disaster Prevention Tips to Help California Businesses Better Prepare for Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can be both unpredictable and unavoidable. From loss of structure, habitat, property, and life, the associated damage can be unthinkable.

For businesses, natural disasters can prove detrimental in many different ways. From preventing staff from making it into work, to facility power loss halting operations, to IT crashes causing critical data loss, and much more, there really is only one all-encompassing way a business can endure a natural disaster – plan ahead.

With the state of California now experiencing a new year-round fire season, in addition to recently braving the two largest earthquakes to hit the state in twenty years, it’s more important than ever for companies to have a concrete disaster prevention plan.

Here are 5 disaster prevention tips that can help California businesses better prepare for natural disasters.

5 Disaster Prevention Tips for California Businesses - GeoLinks.com - safety first

1. Plan Safety First

To protect your business, first protect your employees and clients. For any brick and mortar business, it’s essential that staff know how to physically respond during a disaster. From practicing evacuation routes, to knowing who to call for what emergency, to having life-saving supplies available on site, to knowing where backup generators or susceptible gas lines are located – the number one rule in disaster prevention planning should always be safety first.

While business owners may have these items personally available, it’s critical this information is both shared and available to any and all staff on site.

5 Disaster Prevention Tips for California Businesses - GeoLinks.com - get insured

2. Get and Understand Your Insurance

When was the last time you looked thoroughly into your company’s insurance policy? Do you know what aspects of your business are covered in lieu of a natural disaster? Have you calculated if this coverage is even close to enough to keep your company afloat in the aftermath?

Investing in adequate insurance coverage is imperative in preparing for natural disasters. Aside from insuring your physical business property, with California’s frequency of catastrophic events, further researching business interruption, loss of use, and extended coverage packages are worth serious consideration.

Do you know how much downtime can cost your business? Learn more by checking out our “The Cost of Internet Downtime” Infographic.

5 Disaster Prevention Tips for California Businesses - GeoLinks.com - communicate priorities

3. Communicate Business Critical Priorities

In the event of a disaster, does your team fully understand what your business-critical priorities are? Do you? For example, is your first priority to communicate with your customers? If you’re a liquor store, is it to save all your unbroken inventory? Perhaps a hotel places top priority on evacuating all staff and guests rather than securing cash drawers; do new employees know this?

Whatever a company’s priorities are, it’s crucial to have them not only documented but also communicated company-wide. Once priorities are established and well-known, businesses should create an associated action plan of how to clearly execute in a variety of natural disasters and emergency situations.

5 Disaster Prevention Tips for California Businesses - GeoLinks.com - get redundant

4. Get Redundant

Most all businesses these days require some sort of access to both a power source and the Internet. Thus, what happens if a fire knocks out your building’s power and literally destroys your terrestrial fiber line? Can you still conduct business as usual? Well, if not prepared, the answer is likely no. In fact, it might take a while – even months – to get reconnected and operational depending on the damage. This unfavorable situation, however, is avoidable.

How? Get redundant – or in other words – have “backups on deck”. Get a power generator (or 2), and upgrade your internal network. A truly redundant Business network should integrate both air and ground technologies, such as a fixed wireless and fiber circuit. This prevents a single point of failure from potentially wiping out both circuits running through the same conduit. In the event of a full network outage, if you bundle in an SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide-Area Network) device, it can trigger backup failover automatically.

5 Disaster Prevention Tips for California Businesses - GeoLinks.com - protect your data

5. Protect Your Data

Natural disasters have the power to destroy office networks, online systems, hard drives, and really any physical source responsible for storing critical business information. Thus, tip number five – protect your data.

If able, back up data nightly to both dependable hard drives (at least one housed off site) and to the cloud. If your company hasn’t already began to migrate business records to the cloud, it’s time to get up – literally – and onramp. Learn more about Cloud On-ramping here.

Ultimately, it’s time for California business owners to shift from a disaster recovery to a disaster prevention mindset. Natural disasters will continue to be inevitable – whether your business survives and thrives, however, depends entirely on what you strategically plan and prepare for.

For further disaster prevention tips read: “Disaster Recovery Plan – The Only Way to Ensure Business Continuity”.

To learn more about GeoLinks GeoLit Disaster Prevention Bundle, call and talk to one of the GeoLinks’ team members today!

 

 

 

Get to know GeoLinks’ Accounts Payable Specialist Brayan Juarez

Brayan Juarez - GeoLinks

1. Let’s start with the basics, what’s your role at GeoLinks?

My title is Accounts Payable Specialist, and I currently handle all Accounts Payable tasks. This includes making payments to vendors, vendor relations, tracking our expenses, and any other accounting tasks that have to do with Accounts Payable. I also assist with Accounts Receivable and Agent Commissions.

Brayan Juarez - GeoLinks.com2. What came before GeoLinks? How did you find your way into the world of accounting?

Before Accounting I was interested in Architecture and IT. My father owns a concrete business, and I thought we would make the perfect duo. Of course being 20, in college, and finding out what life is all about, I ended up choosing a different route. Technology is so interconnected, and I have always been one to take devices apart, so I thought IT was for me. Doing IT in my previous job, I got the opportunity to work with a CPA doing some light accounting work. At the time I was taking accounting classes to finish my General Ed at SBCC, and it came to me that Accounting was my calling. I now have 5+ years of accounting experience as well as IT and customer service. I also currently handle the books for my father’s business.

3. What’s your favorite part about working for GeoLinks?

My favorite part of working for GeoLinks is how relaxed and awesome the culture is here. Having a gym and arcade next to your office beats anything out there. I also love how management makes it so easy for your ideas to be heard, and they make sure you are doing well both inside and outside of work.

4. What do you think makes GeoLinks different from its competitors?

Being a local and living in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties for many years, I have never seen a WISP/ISP that is willing to do more than just provide basic Telecommunications services until I learned of GeoLinks. When the local fires erupted here, I was directly affected because I commuted almost daily from Santa Barbara to Oxnard and vice versa. The work we’re doing with UCSD with fire cameras will definitely put us on the map nationwide.

Brayan Juarez - GeoLinks.com - blog

5. Outside of work…what is your favorite past time or hobby?

I am very into sports, specifically football, soccer, basketball, and baseball.

Chargers, Real Madrid, Lakers, and Dodgers baby! On top of that, I love video games, mainly ones that involve multiplayer modes.

6. What’s something most of your coworkers don’t know about you?

I fix cell phones/tablets/laptops as a side hustle. I have been doing it for more than 5 years and counting. Lately I haven’t done much due to working full time and going to school, but if you need your screen replaced, don’t hesitate to contact me! I also cut my own hair and have been doing it for the past 6 years.

7. Rumor has it that the accounting team is a lively and outgoing department – care to share one of your favorite memories with your team so far?

I would probably say the best time we have had was during our kickball tournament for corporate games, alongside Sales, CSR, and HR. We placed 3rd out of 17 teams.

Brayan Juarez - GeoLinks.com - team blog

8. You are allowed to do anything you want, anywhere in the world, for one whole day…what do you do and where do you go?

I would have to say go to Germany, as I took 5 years of German throughout high school and college combined. If it’s for one day, I would take my G37 to the Nurburgring track in Nürburg, Germany and push my car to the limits.

9. Do you have a favorite quote or mantra you live by? Please share!

Never hesitate or think of the what ifs.

10. What’s next…what are you most excited for when you think of your future with GeoLinks?

I think GeoLinks has a bright future and will become the leader of the Telecommunications industry. With ongoing projects such as the Fire Cameras, we will continue to have exposure that will make us stand out from the competition. I am happy to be a part of a company that is willing to use its technology to save lives and the environment.

 

Infographic: The Cost of Internet Downtime

GeoLinks - The cost of Internet downtime

Want to ensure your company has true business continuity?

Ask about GeoLinks’ ultimate IT disaster prevention plan – the GeoLit Bundle.

5 Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best ISP for Your Business

5 Factors to consider when choosing an ISP for your Business - GeoLinks.com

How do you choose the best Internet Service Provider for your business?

With day-to-day business operations becoming increasingly reliant on the Internet, choosing an Internet Service Provider (ISP) is more important than ever. For those lucky enough to be in a market privy to a multitude of carriers, such as Los Angeles or Orange County, there are five primary factors to consider when either onboarding with or switching to a new ISP.

1. Reputation

One of the most reliable ways to vet a new telecom provider is by researching their reputation. Whether that be by reading through online reviews posted on Yelp or Google, or talking directly to the neighboring businesses in your area, understanding an ISP’s reputation is one of the most foolproof ways to really know what you’re signing up for.

That being said, make sure you’re being conscientious of what type of customer the reviews are coming from – i.e. are they from residential customers or from other businesses like yourself.

2. Service Level Agreements (SLA)

A service-level agreement (SLA) is a contractual commitment between an Internet Service Provider and a client. An IPS’s SLA should typically outline guaranteed service metrics such as uptime, latency, jitter, packet loss, and response/repair time. For example, GeoLinks’ SLA is fairly straightforward and offers the following:

SERVICE TARGETS

  • Response Priority: Critical: 4hrs or less
  • Network Quality of Service
  • Network Availability: Target of at least 99.999% uptime
  • Round Trip Latency Under 40ms
  • Jitter under 10ms
  • Packet loss target < 0.1%

On the other hand, some providers don’t offer a guaranteed service level at all. For example, there are a variety of providers who simply state:

“X company does not warrant that the service will be uninterrupted or error free nor make any warranty as to the results obtained from the use of the service. X company does not guarantee connectivity at any time, for any length of time or at any particular speed.”

Therefore, when deciding to onboard or switch to a new Business Internet Service Provider, make sure you carefully research the provider’s SLA so you know what service quality to expect.

5 Factors to consider when choosing an ISP for your Business - GeoLinks.com - Customer Support

3. Customer Support

While in an ideal world businesses would never have to engage with their ISP past service installation, unfortunately, that is just not the case.

Whether a client has billing questions, service issues, needs technical support, has upgrade inquiries or product add-ons, at some point or another, chances are a business will have to engage with an ISP’s customer support team. Therefore, research what type of support the company offers.

A larger carrier, for example, might make you sit through an automated phone menu, place you on a lengthy hold, and eventually transfer you to a contracted employee outside of the U.S. Alternatively, a medium sized ISP, such as GeoLinks, offers 24/7 in-house customer support; customers are even able to ask for customer support reps by name.

Another element to consider is overall responsiveness. If your business does experience a technical issue, how long does it take a provider to respond and address the issue? Time is money, so whether it be hours wasted on hold, or weeks waiting on a repair, how an ISP handles customer relations directly affects its business customer’s bottom line.

4. Agility and Flexibility

As a business grows and changes, its overall telecom needs will as well. For example, if a law firm hires 10 more associates, they will likely need to upgrade their overall bandwidth. Furthermore, if juggling multiple carriers and multiple bills becomes too large of a strain on a company’s accounting apartment, a business may wish to streamline all their telecom needs with a single carrier.

Some ISPs offer additional services such as VoIP and SD-WAN, while others do not. Therefore, when selecting an ISP, make sure to explore their entire product suite and offerings. Choosing an aggregator, (an ISP that is capable of reselling multiple ISP products and services) such as GeoLinks, ensures that no matter the growth or changes in a business, a single provider will be able to upgrade and adapt to evolving business needs.

5 Factors to consider when choosing an ISP for your Business - GeoLinks.com - Bandwidth

5. Bandwidth Availability

Do you know how much Internet bandwidth your company needs? If not, check out “Your Guide to Determining Bandwidth Requirements.

While it may seem obvious, when choosing an ISP, it’s necessary to ensure they can provide the speeds your company needs. Based on your location, and the type of Internet access you are looking for (i.e. Fiber vs Fixed Wireless vs DSL etc.) bandwidth availability may fluctuate from carrier to carrier. Furthermore, if it does appear the ISP offers what you are looking for, make sure you understand if it is a dedicated or shared circuit, as this too will impact the reliability and consistency of speeds.

Feeling overwhelmed? If you’re struggling to decide which ISP is the best for your business, consider contracting an IT consultant. Typically vendor agnostic, IT consultants are able to evaluate all the carriers available in your area, evaluate the above criteria, and present a business with its best option.

Curious if GeoLinks is the right ISP for your business? Call and talk to a Client Consultant today!

Get to know GeoLinks’ General Counsel and VP of Government Affairs and Education Melissa Slawson

Melissa Slawson - GeoLinks

1. Let’s start with the basics, what’s your role at GeoLinks?

My official title is General Counsel and V.P. of Government Affairs and Education. I handle all legal and regulatory matters, which includes tracking policies and legislation that may affect GeoLinks’ business and advocating for GeoLinks’ interests before various regulatory bodies (including the FCC). In short…I’m the lawyer, and I make sure we follow rules and the rules work for us.

2. What’s your favorite part about working for GeoLinks?

I love how fast-paced everything is. There’s never time to get bogged down in the weeds of an issue because a decision usually has to be made quickly. It has made me good at thinking on my feet, researching issues efficiently, and trusting my experience.

Melissa Slawson - GeoLinks - Jerry Brown3. What got you to the position you are in today…what came before GeoLinks?

I’ve been practicing law in the telecommunications regulatory space for over 11 years (wow…that sounds so long when you type it out). I started at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as a regulator, then entered private practice at a law firm specializing in regulatory work for a variety of telecommunications companies (cable, wireline, wireless, etc.), and then was GC for a small wireless company. The breadth of my legal experience and seeing the telecom world from multiple perspectives really prepared me for my role at GeoLinks. I understand the business side but also understand how regulators and lawmakers see the industry. That’s invaluable when trying to traverse the sometimes rocky legal landscape of providing telecom services.   

4. What government related project are you most passionate about?

I have always tried to make sure that the work I do is also doing good. I started my career as a public servant and while I have moved to the private sector, there is still good to be done. Specifically, I am passionate about connectivity for all. All people, rich or poor, urban or rural, etc. etc. etc. should have access to telecommunications services. This is an issue that I have worked on in some capacity throughout my entire career, and I am so happy to be working for a company with a founding mission to close the digital divide.  

5. Outside of work…what is your favorite pastime or hobby?

Melissa Slawson - geolinks

I started taking Improv classes last May and have started performing fairly regularly. Otherwise, I spend my non-work time doing crossfit, spending time with friends and my dog, Logan, cooking…and watching TV. I love TV.  

6. What’s something most of your coworkers don’t know about you?

I’ve never had a cavity. Thanks, Mom!

7. Alright pressure is on….give us your best or favorite motivational quote?

“Wherever you go, there you are.”  It’s a simple statement and really, quite painfully obvious, but I take its meaning to be pretty deep. Wherever you go in this world, no matter who you meet, what job you are doing, etc., you are still you. It is a constant. It is a center. And if things get hard or weird, you can fall back on knowing who you are and move forward from there. And by the same token, it means to be true to yourself, your beliefs, and your values no matter how the world around you changes. I strive to be me all the time.

8. You are allowed to do anything you want, anywhere in the world, for one whole day…what do you do and where do you go?

Be a rockstar.  I want a full sleeve of tattoos, crazy hair, and to sing in front of a stadium full of screaming fans. Sounds amazing!!!

9. Congratulations on recently being elected onto the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition’s (SHLB) Board of Expert Advisors. So, what exactly is SHLB and how do you contribute?

I’m excited about being part of the SHLB Board. SHLB is doing some amazing work to close the digital divide by connecting anchor institutions (schools, libraries, hospitals, etc.) which are cornerstones of so many communities. It’s just another piece of the puzzle that is getting connectivity to all Americans. Being part of the board means helping shape the path that SHLB will forge in its efforts over the next few years. It also means having direct input into how companies can help (and be incentivized to help) SHLB’s mission.

Melissa Slawson - GeoLinks - SHLB

10. What’s next…what are you most excited for when you think of your future with GeoLinks?

With our recent Connect America Fund award, all of the work we’re doing to connect anchor institutions, and other opportunities we’re engaged in to help connectivity in California, I am so excited to see how GeoLinks can help change the digital landscape in California and beyond. In just a few short years, GeoLinks will be providing high speed broadband services to areas that may have otherwise never had more than dial-up speeds. (If that!) We are doing good while being successful in business. THAT is my American dream.

How Can Latency Affect Your Business?

How Can Latency Affect Your Business? - GeoLinks.com

What is Latency? Why Does Latency Matter? How Can You Reduce Latency?

Have you ever found yourself frustrated because it’s taking forever to simply load a website? How about uploading a document into an email; do you feel like you might as well watch paint dry? Perhaps you’re in a rush to pull up a customer’s ticket information in your company’s CRM system, and it simply will not load; meanwhile you’re live on the phone with said customer and your conversation becomes a painstaking exchange of delayed echoing – ever been there? There are a multitude of factors that contribute to this all too common series of events. One of the primary culprits? High latency. Latency has a direct effect on internet-based business applications and operations. So, what exactly is latency?

What is Latency?

In networking, latency is defined as the total round-trip time it takes for a data packet to be transmitted from a point of origin, or a single node, back to its source. While there are a variety of factors that affect latency, a foundational component is the physical type of Internet connection a company employs. Satellite Internet, for example, is notorious for having high latency (long round-trip travel times) due to the sheer fact that data has to transmit across tens of thousands of miles into space. Because latency involves speed, the quality of network devices (such as a router) and the quantity of such that data must traverse, also significantly dictates latency.

Why Does Latency Matter? GeoLinks.com

Why Does Latency Matter?

Simply put – it affects Internet speed.

People commonly mistake Internet speed with Internet bandwidth. Bandwidth is the physical amount of data that can be transmitted over a connection in a fixed amount of time. Internet speed, however, is impacted by the relationship between both bandwidth and latency.

For example, the figure below demonstrates three different Internet circuits. Circuit C has the highest Internet speed because it has low latency and high bandwidth. Oppositely, Circuit B has high latency and low bandwidth and consequently has a severely lower Internet speed.

how can latency affect your business - geolinks

How Can Latency Affect Your Business?

As outlined above, latency directly affects a company’s network performance. Thus, high latency can negatively impact everything from the loading of a webpage, to uploading or downloading an important document, to the overall efficiency of internal systems. Furthermore, if a business has adapted a VoIP phone system, inbound and outbound call quality can largely be compromised. If not quickly resolved, all these items can culminate into a significant loss of company productivity, reputation, and revenue. Find a few real-life examples of such claims below.

Loss of Productivity:

A team of analysts are tasked with researching a competitor’s newly released product. Intuitively they first head to the Internet to begin seeing what information is readily available. The team quickly discovers that the task is going to take far longer than anticipated due to the simple fact that every web page they visit is taking what seems like forever to load. What could have been an hour project, has now occupied an entire day.

Compromised Reputation:

An e-commerce brand launches a new product line, and it goes viral. Orders are pouring in left and right. While most would think said company would be celebrating, instead they are in sheer panic. Why? The network is encountering the perfect storm – high latency, low bandwidth, maxed throughput – consequently, the company’s backend online order portal crashes. Without an adequate backup circuit, the portal remains down for multiple hours. Those few hours massively delay the company’s internal operations and lead times preventing them from delivering in the promised 48-hours. End result? High call volumes and unhappy customers.

Loss of Revenue:

More and more business transactions, both internal and external, are moving online every day. For instance, look at any restaurant with a POS system. POS systems, used to input orders and process payments, require an Internet connection. Slow Internet = delays = long wait times = customers choosing to go next door to your competitor = lost revenue.

So, How Can You Reduce Latency?

While technically speaking latency can never be fully dissolved, there are ways business owners and IT Directors can decrease delays.

Choose Your ISP Carefully

The simplest way to reduce latency is to transfer the responsibility onto your business Internet Service Provider (ISP). Avoid Satellite connections, upgrade to a dedicated Internet circuit, and only onboard with telecoms that have a strong Service Level Agreement (SLA) that assures low latency. GeoLinks’ SLA, for example, guarantees round trip latency under 40ms.

Establish a Business Continuity Plan

We’ve already established that ensuring internal systems operate as efficiently as possible is essential to a company’s success. Thus, what do you do if your primary circuit is experiencing high latency (despite your ISP’s SLA)? Ideally, you switch to your backup circuit operating on an entirely different network. Onboard your services with an aggregator, like GeoLinks, and your provider can manage both connections seamlessly.

Invest in SD-WAN

SD-WAN (Software Defined Wide Area Network) is a software-based approach to managing Wide Area Network (WAN) connections to more effectively route all network traffic between headquarters or data centers, remote and branch offices, and the cloud. Not only can SD-WAN issue automatic failover to an alternative or backup connection, the technology is able to define network policies based on business intent and steer traffic intelligently forgoing additional hops. The result? Reduced latency and overall higher application performance.

SD-WAN - GeoLinks.com

For the majority of consumers, the difference between 168 milliseconds and a single millisecond merely equates to convenience. For a modern and connected business, on the other hand, latency can be far more impactful. So, if application performance and Internet speed play an important role in your day-to-day business operations, reducing and preparing for high latency is paramount.

Want to learn more about SD-WAN, GeoLinks’ SLA, Business Continuity, or Shared vs Dedicated Internet access? Talk to a GeoLinks’ Client Consultant today!