Does your internet provider really have your business in mind? Three questions to ask.

Backup connectivity, malware protection and specialized support are crucial to virtually any business’s internet service. But not all providers are created equal.

Millions of connections happen every day in businesses across Canada, enabling employee communication, file sharing, data storage and innovative customer experiences. And because these functions are so vital, ensuring the integrity of the connections that enable them should be a priority for virtually every business. Unfortunately, constant connectivity as well as the business-grade security and support businesses increasingly require from their internet providers remain elusive.

The value of these services isn’t just in what they enable, but also in what they prevent. Consider what would happen if your internet connection went down, because of a lightning strike or a ransomware attack; Your online store and point-of-purchase devices would go offline, your customers’ data would be compromised, your employees wouldn’t be able to collaborate across your locations–your business would slow to a crawl if not stop altogether. 

To help you identify the right provider and avoid costly downtime, here are some key questions you should ask your current—and potentially new—internet provider:

What kind of backup internet connection do you offer?

Nearby construction, extreme weather or even a traffic accident can take down your wired connection to the internet and put your business at risk of lost revenue, lost productivity and a tarnished brand. That’s why it’s imperative you have a backup connection you can rely on to stay connected to the internet, keeping your customers connected to your business, your point-of-sale machines connected to the payment network and your employees connected to the tools they need (such as cloud-based apps like Office 365 or G Suite). Some internet providers offer a wireless LTE backup connection that takes over should something happen to your main wired connection. Ideally, this backup connection should be automatic, seamless, and available to you for no extra charge, particularly since your provider should do all they can to get your main line up and running as soon as possible.

Do you provide malware protection?

Although educating your staff on avoiding phishing schemes is still an essential aspect of protecting your organization against malware attacks, all it takes is one click on one malicious link, and your online operations can come to a screeching halt, inundating your employees with ad pop-ups, holding your data hostage or even taking control of your entire system. Some malware attacks may not seize your operations, but steal your customers’ data, opening an entirely different Pandora’s box of issues. While there are options to prevent malware attacks, they often involve investing in costly peripheral hardware, which in turn require you to make manual updates that can easily be missed. That’s why built-in network-level security is ideal, automatically blocking employees’ requests to websites responsible for launching malware attacks.

What kind of special support can my business expect from you?

Support services can vary dramatically from provider to provider. On the low end, you can expect a generic support number to call or an online support ticket system. But when you’re a business customer, you should expect support specialized in helping businesses. In addition to the above offerings, your internet provider should be available 24/7, able to offer advice on (and even implement) other telecommunications services that can meet your business’s needs. 

The internet has become an essential part of daily business and, as a result, internet providers must keep pace with your business’s growing needs. That’s why, before renewing your contract with your current provider, or signing with a new one, you should remember to ask about the backup connectivity, malware protection and specialized support they offer.

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