How to identify the signs that your company may need to upgrade to Dedicated Business Internet
Deciding when to upgrade to a Dedicated Business Internet plan is a key decision in any company’s growth. When your company’s Internet connection slows down, or worse, goes offline, it can cost you lost sales, harm your reputation, and cause operational delays. For example, when your business upgrades to a new CRM, or grows an in-house team adding new devices to your network, it’s not a given that current bandwidth and existing infrastructure are equipped to support the transition. Thus, it’s important to understand the network requirements your business needs to operate. Specifically, it’s imperative to realize when it’s time for your company to upgrade to a Dedicated Business Internet plan.
What is Business Internet?
When you upgrade to “Dedicated Business Internet”, you’re moving to a dedicated Internet connection. Unlike shared Internet circuits, a dedicated circuit provides private Internet access to a single location. This means bandwidth is delivered and accessible exclusively to the circuit owner guaranteeing they receive the bandwidth they sign up for. Keep in mind that upgrading may require switching telecom providers.
While shared Internet circuits may be adequate for residential or small business use, as businesses grow, the cost of downtime and inefficiency inherent in shared solutions becomes prohibitive. Research shows that companies on average experience 87 hours of downtime each year. This equates to an average cost of $42,000 lost per hour, for a total cost of over $3M/year. As multiple devices proliferate and companies come to rely on their employees’ ability to communicate and facilitate online transactions, (such as collecting payment) the impact and cost of slow or unreliable Internet access grows exponentially.
Benefits of Dedicated Business Internet
Dedicated Business Internet offers many benefits to companies that need more reliable connectivity.
- Guaranteed Bandwidth
When you don’t share your circuit with other companies, you know you will get the download and upload speeds promised. Not sure how much bandwidth your business needs? Learn “How to Determine the Amount of Bandwidth Your Company Needs”.
- Faster Throughput
Dedicated Business Internet gives access to to low-traffic backbones so connectivity is fast from origin to destination. If Internet access is like getting on the freeway, then Business Internet users get both faster onramps and a pass to the carpool lane because their Internet traffic is routed onto low-traffic backbone circuits that experience fewer delays.
- Matched Upload and Download Speeds
Unlike shared circuits which typically have inconsistent download than upload speeds, Dedicated Business Internet connections offer packages with guaranteed symmetrical upload and download speeds. This becomes useful for businesses that require robust file transfers, online streaming, and video conferencing.
Dedicated Business Internet Service Level Agreements (SLA)
Speed and performance for a Dedicated Business Internet connection are guaranteed with very specific, enforceable Service Level Agreements (SLA). Shared Circuit SLA’s typically claim to make their “best effort” to provide contracted services, without any recourse if the circuit gets crowded and performance drops. Dedicated Business Internet SLA’s list specific deliverables for service. As an example, here is the guarantees that come with GeoLinks’ Business Internet SLA:
- 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%
Should You Get Dedicated Business Internet?
Now that you know the benefits of moving to a Dedicated Business Internet circuit, how do you determine whether or not it’s time to upgrade. One of the first questions to ask is whether you are experiencing network problems on your current shared circuit. Here are a few examples of businesses that would typically require Dedicated Business Internet:
- Hotels where broadband service is part of their offering to guests.
- Medical practices where reliable communications and data access can literally be a matter of life and death. They may also be subject to regulation requiring them to maintain reliable connectivity.
- Real estate offices and banks, both of which handle large volumes of electronic transactions and often transfer large files in bulk to support purchases or financial arrangements.
- Restaurants or retail establishments with POS systems. If their Internet goes down, so does their POS system. This prevents them from collecting debit or credit payments.
If you’re currently experiencing any of the network issues mentioned above, or are in a business where reliable internet is essential to your day-to-day operations, then it’s time to seriously consider upgrading to Dedicated Business Internet. Still not sure if the benefits outweigh the hard cost? Calculate the Return on Investment (ROI) of upgrading.
How to Calculate the ROI of Dedicated Business Internet
The basic formula for ROI in any business is net gain/cost. Choose a time frame as the basis – with larger IT upgrades like this you’ll want to consider at least a year, if not more. Compare the costs associated with keeping your current shared solution. Then compare the costs or cost savings of upgrading. Keep in mind that some costs are hard, while others are less tangible.
Here are a few examples of hard costs and cost savings to consider:
- Installation and hardware fees
- Monthly recurring ISP charges
- Improved internal and external communications
- More reliable video conferencing, VoIP, and web access
- Reduced risk of employee and systems downtime
- Increased capacity for growth and expansion
- How much would it cost you if your internet went down altogether for 1 hour? 1 day? 1 week? What would you pay for peace of mind?
Once you have costs and benefits of both scenarios, you can compare ROIs and also look at the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). The final decision whether to upgrade to Dedicated Business Internet should take into account the tangible business benefits, ROI, and TCO as well as the harder to quantify benefits such as improving your business infrastructure.
Do your day-to-day business operations require reliable Internet access? If yes, it’s time to upgrade. Have you recently changed your company’s internal systems, such as onboarding a more robust CRM? It’s time to upgrade. Are you expanding your team or increasing the number of devices (such as computers) connected to your network? It’s time to upgrade. All in all, does it give you peace of mind to have a contractual SLA that you can rely on? It is time to upgrade.