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Why your SMB needs enterprise-grade connectivity

The optimum digital scenario is flexible, available anywhere and always secure


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With the technology revolution in full swing, there is perhaps nothing more essential to business today than the successful management of that technology. It’s tricky enough for big organizations that can afford an information technology staff to manage their environment and deploy cutting-edge connectivity tools, but what about growing small- to medium-sized businesses (SMB)?

Connectivity for an SMB is just as essential as it is for the big guys. However, getting it right means a lot more than just maintaining a stable internet connection. Today, the optimum connectivity scenario is flexible, available anywhere and always secure. It’s not enough to think about your network as the four walls of your office. To support the productivity of employees and the anytime-access needs of customers, you need to think about expansive connections to your business. What’s more, this needs to be accomplished without much management time, so you and your employees can focus on doing what you do best — building your business.

In order to reach these goals, a thorough examination of your connectivity needs is in order. When assessing those needs, here are a few factors to keep in mind that will have a significant impact on the success of the connectivity framework put into place:

BUSINESS APPLICATION NEEDS

It is important to approach connectivity for your business as more than just an internet hook-up; you must think of it as a seamless virtual office connecting employees to critical business applications and data over a familiar user interface. And this connection requires secure access, control and visibility to manage and administer applications over a multitude of devices, operating systems and open source APIs. Once you begin to think of connectivity in those terms, you’ll be poised to make a decision based not only on current application needs, but also future needs as your business grows and evolves, with an eye toward efficiency, reliability and security.

THE MOBILE REVOLUTION

There’s no doubt the mobile revolution has touched your business. And just like a big enterprise, your SMB is reaping the rewards: saved time, increased productivity and reduced costs. Employees are more device-oriented than ever, via company-issued and personal devices – therefore so is your business. It’s vitally important that your mobile network allows employees to make any location an office and stay connected no matter where they work. Your connectivity scenario should include the most mobile-friendly features and services that budget allows, while also giving the ability to control access to sensitive customer information. That will help your business keep up with the mobile revolution as it continues to unfold.

STAYING CURRENT

Your dedicated IT staff, if you are lucky enough to have one, may not have the time to stay on top of the latest trends. But it’s essential that your business stay current with what the latest technology can offer. Applying an integrated, managed connectivity framework can help do that. Consider using a single vendor for multiple services, like data, voice and cloud-based tools. Then, let that vendor ensure you have the latest and greatest equipment and software, and are up to date with any required upgrades or patches. In the long run, the initial investment will pay off by allowing staff to focus less on researching and managing technology, and more on strategic business initiatives.

BUILD ON A HIGH-PERFORMANCE FIBER FOUNDATION

The best way to ensure you get the connectivity needed is to look for a building that is already fiber-enabled. CenturyLink recently made fiber-ready broadband speeds up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) available to 607 multi-tenant units in the Denver area. This platform provides bandwidth to spare, opening the door to cloud-based applications and services that perform at the same speed as local applications downloaded on a PC. And that bandwidth is symmetrical, so real time applications like voice, web conferencing and data backup perform at optimum quality, while still supporting all other daily internet needs.

A fiber foundation is perfect for extending this same level of high-performance to multiple devices and locations using wide-area network connections including multiprotocol label switching virtual private network (MPLS-VPN) and MEF certified scalable Ethernet. A software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) solution can also provide an application-based overlay that enables a simplified, secure connection to any device, over any network, from anywhere your business takes you. This brings simplicity to network management, as well as employee and customer interface with your business. A good telecommunications provider such as CenturyLink can provide additional benefits including comprehensive management of your infrastructure and applications.

Choosing the best connectivity scenario for your SMB is much more complex than it used to be, but with a few key considerations, you can choose a plan that can catapult your business into the next level of connectivity -- one that rivals the big guys in terms of cost savings, efficiencies and competitive advantage in the marketplace.

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