To ensure you’re settling for the right Internet service for your business, there are three important questions you need to ask your cable provider.
- Do you Guarantee Service Quality and Availability?
Let’s first look at availability. Cable networks were created to dispense residential TV service: something that’s somewhat easy to live without should there be a service disruption. However, for a business, a network outage can be disastrous. It could lead to lost revenue, it could lead to low productivity, not to mention reduced customer satisfaction. On the other hand, service providers who cater to businesses usually promise 99.99% uptime.
The other thing is access services also differ in terms of service quality. Latency issues are likely to affect cable service, and this equates to performance issues for various applications like voice calls and video streaming. The reason is because cable providers do not support CoS (Class of Service) which implies the same priority is given to voice calls and video streams as any other user data on the shared cable service.
A true business-class service should have SLAs (service-level agreements) that cover the service quality and this includes factors to do with performance such as installation timeframe, round-trip delay and packet delivery rates.
Business-class service providers habitually back those promises with inbuilt financial penalties should the actual performance fail to meet the levels promised. Often the case, cable providers do not offer a best-effort service level agreement, if they do offer one any at all. Reflect on whether you can entrust your connection with customers and your business continuity to a service that may not match up if it’s available in the first place.
- Will the Actual Service be Sufficient for our Business?
Cable customers share bandwidth. The actual speed delivered by cable at any given moment depends on the current load of traffic based on how much bandwidth is used by businesses in the vicinity.
During hours when there is peak usage, you could notice incredibly slower performance for your applications. It’s good to go over the provider’s fine print. Normally, it will say that service speeds will simply be ‘up to’ the bandwidth promised. Will your employees be productive when working with a sometimes limited-speed Internet service?
- Will Network Security be a DIY Affair?
Cable service will normally see you implement and maintain your own data security tools. This is no doubt an involving task, and many SMBs lack the in-house expertise or budget to implement and maintain a robust security strategy, and in the process risk financial loss, customer support or even worse.
Think of Business-class Alternatives to Cable
The way a cable provider answers these questions may disappoint or surprise you. Fortunately, you are not limited to this option only. There are others you can choose from that offer increased reliability, better performance and security, and are truly business class.