Guest Blog Post by Todd Nielsen of JMARK Business Solutions
A reliable network can make the difference between growing your profits and losing customers in today's competitive markets. You depend on a strong network infrastructure to maintain internal communications, keep your website functioning effectively, and field calls and emails from potential clients.
With so much on the line, businesses in this area need to be aware of the unique problems they face when it comes to keeping their networks up and running.
The first step toward achieving a reliable network is having high-quality network support ready to assist you.
Local Businesses Often Face Network Connectivity Challenges
Northwest Arkansas is home to hundreds of small- to mid-size companies that depend on reliable network connections to maintain operations—but it’s also especially prone to extreme weather events.
NWA reported in 2017 that Benton County created an action report in the wake of the damage caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma in order to reduce the impact of natural disasters in the area. That April, 90% of roads and bridges in the county were closed due to flooding—and you can bet that water damage caused havoc among local business owners.
In an area that is susceptible to flood events, tornadoes, and hailstorms, maintaining network connectivity is a challenge every business must be prepared to contend with. Fortunately, with the right network support, you can minimize the downtime caused by extreme weather and create a disaster recovery plan designed to get you up and running.
Key Elements of Great Network Support
- 24-Hour Monitoring
One of the fundamental aspects of quality network support is around-the-clock monitoring of your network connectivity. With this capability, you can identify equipment failures or outages before they affect your business and cost you money and valuable time.
You can also use the accumulated data about your network usage to provide periodic network health reports that are designed to help you identify problem areas and improve performance. Monitoring services are especially helpful if you have a system that is distributed across various locations, or your equipment is located in an area without the technical expertise you require.
One of the biggest challenges in maintaining your network is making sure it works as efficiently as possible. Most companies that are operating below peak efficiency aren’t even aware of it, particularly if they’ve never had an outside observer take a look at their network architecture.
A network evaluation by an experienced I.T. provider can help your business optimize network infrastructure, server use, and wireless devices, locating inefficiencies in-house I.T. employees might have missed as your network has grown over the years.
By using the data gathered about your network usage over time, you can implement changes that will allow your business to run without bottlenecks or outages.
Your I.T. support provider can also perform necessary patches or replace hardware as needed to keep your network functional and cost-
- Guaranteed Uptime
In our ultra-connected world, every second spent offline means lost profits for any business, but in industries which must meet legally-enforced compliance standards, downtime can be deadly.
Many SLAs (service level agreements) with managed service providers specify a certain amount of guaranteed uptime, often as much as 95.5%. Since compliance guidelines often include required uptime specifications, this is especially helpful to companies in industries with strict standards to meet.
With so much depending on keeping your network functional, having guaranteed uptime provides peace of mind for business owners.
- Disaster Recovery
Facing a disaster such as a data breach, equipment failure, or destructive event is a major concern for businesses everywhere. As recent events in the news have shown, no company is immune to the dangers of cybercrime and mother nature. For this reason, disaster recovery is an aspect of network support that should not be overlooked.
Disaster recovery involves backing up data to secure servers and being able to maintain operations in the event of a disruption that causes damage to data or hardware.
Your provider should be able to help you create a disaster recovery and business continuity plan designed to maintain normal operations—no matter what curveballs Mother Nature or cybercriminals decide to throw.
- Remote Help Desk Capabilities
Your Managed Service Provider (MSP) should ideally be able to assist you whenever a problem comes up—whether you lose a network device first thing Monday morning, or experience a power outage in the middle of the night.
In addition to remote help desk services, a great I.T. provider also offers onsite support to give necessary assistance at the moment when network problems arise. Getting help with upgrades, repair, recovery, and incident management should be as easy as picking up a phone or creating a help desk ticket online.
How to Decide if Increasing Your Network Support Is Right for Your Business
There are several factors to weigh when determining whether adding network monitoring and support is the right decision for you. Cost is the first thing most business owners consider, and with good reason.
Most MSPs provide network services, security, and storage for a predictable monthly cost, making them an attractive option for business owners who might not have the budget to hire a full I.T. department.
your network is out
-of -date or you are
experiencing frequent outages, increasing your level of network support will
almost certainly pay for itself.
Additionally, if you’ve experienced a data breach or are concerned about your network security, partnering with an I.T. provider with a strong track record in security will help you take proactive steps towards protecting your data. The International Association of Privacy Professionals recently reported that U.S. CEOs rank cybersecurity as the greatest external concern for 2019, and small businesses are especially vulnerable.
You handle a number of challenges as a business owner, but network connectivity shouldn’t be one of them. JMARK has more than thirty years of experience helping businesses implement I.T. strategies that increase stability, security and profitability.
For more information on how to use technology to increase the velocity of your business success, visit JMARK.com.