It makes sense that the very best broadband speeds cost more, but did you know that by taking out a business broadband deal you guarantee the best service levels, too?
It is not uncommon for entrepreneurs to set up shop at home when their businesses are starting-out, or even to run their business from a home office on a permanent basis.
While there’s no reason you can’t run your business from home and maintain a professional set-up, it is worth considering whether to adopt a residential or a business broadband agreement with your provider.
This might not have crossed your mind before – perhaps it’s not immediately clear that there would be a difference – but in fact there is a whole host of different broadband packages out there tailored specifically for businesses.
“Where to spend limited funds is always a difficult decision for a young business,” says Melvin Griffiths, broadband product manager at Virgin Media Business, “but for a digital business in a digital age, the best business broadband services shouldn’t be seen as a cost but as a way of differentiating and adding value.
“It’s an essential part of the fabric of the business and even allows overheads to be reduced in other areas when virtualisation, cloud and collaboration services are embraced.”
Here are some of the benefits of business broadband packages.
Top level service: Broadband VIPs
If your broadband connection goes down at home, it’s annoying. If your broadband connection goes down at work, it can potentially threaten your livelihood.
A business broadband deal will generally guarantee to get you back up and running within a shorter time period than residential agreements, to minimise your downtime. If your provider takes longer than stated, you will generally receive compensation for the lost hours.
This doesn’t just cover total connection outages – if your speeds drop below an agreed limit you can also claim.
What’s more, business broadband traffic is prioritised over residential traffic, which means your business will remain unaffected by any neighbours trying to download large files or stream movies.
Top level service: Keeping your data under wraps
Even if you are lucky enough to have set up your business in a well-served area and bad connection has never impeded your work flow, the security issue could give you reason for pause.
Business broadband packages are much more secure, and this is of paramount importance to any business. Aside from fears of having your funds diverted by fraudsters, there is the added concern that they might get their hands on your clients’ data. This is a disaster for businesses, and you can kiss your reputation goodbye.
Business broadband has higher grade security software, and business broadband routers typically have firewalls and filter content more effectively.
Top level service: The icing on the cake
It is not uncommon for business broadband deals to come with added extras.
For example, some packages offer a static IP address for a fixed amount of users. This enables you to use a range of business features, host your own server and even host your own website.
“If you’re doing things like hosting a website or other web-based services, its important your IP doesn’t change, because then the rest of the world can’t find your location online,” Griffiths advises.
“It’d be like losing your telephone number or street address. The traffic won’t know where you live. If you want to run multiple internet services, servers or routers from your offices, like an email server, an FTP site, VoIP or other apps that need a permanent address, you’ll need more than just one.”
Other packages include cloud business applications, TV and telephony services, or even free access to WiFi through a nationwide network.
To be clear: a business broadband package is certainly not for everyone, and you need to weigh up the added cost against the benefit your business would receive.
However, if you would like the guaranteed service levels – especially if your business is suffering from outages – it could well be something to consider.
“Think about the value of the service overall rather than just the cheapest price point,” Griffiths concludes, “and consider how the extra bandwidth available with some services could allow you to transform the way you run your business.
“We are at the start of the digital age, what might be cheap and get you by today, will not be enough tomorrow and may stop you being as successful as you could be.”