Fiber optics? Why should you, as the owner of a business, care about that? Isn’t that something for IT engineers to worry about?
Well, no. That’s because fiber-optic technology is delivering enough business benefits to make the owner of any business, large or small, sit up and take notice.
Fiber is fast becoming a necessity, not a luxury. In large part, its importance comes from the speed it offers. But rather than just nodding and agreeing that speed is good, you should take a few minutes to ask yourself: What can my business do with all this speed? The answers are instructive.
You could improve employee productivity.
Research studies have shown that fiber substantially enhances productivity. Getting rid of traditional broadband will speed up business processes and save you weeks of employee time every year. That can add up to many thousands of dollars annually. You’d be able to easily pay for the difference between traditional broadband and fiber with what you save – and that cost difference is rapidly diminishing.
Fiber also makes it possible for your employees to collaborate more closely without worrying that a call will drop or a video will freeze. Video conferencing additionally helps remote employees or different office locations communicate “face-to-face” without having to be in the same place. And a poor Internet connection can impact more than internal productivity. It can impact your reputation.
Fiber also allows employees to send files more efficiently, especially larger ones. Your business might have to send or receive big files such as raw video footage, coded websites, graphics-intensive documents or music files. Although it’s fairly easy to download such files, most Internet providers don’t offer sufficiently powerful symmetrical speeds. That is, uploads don’t go as fast as downloads. Your employees waste time waiting for files to finish sending when they could have moved onto other tasks. Fiber has symmetrical upload and download speeds, so your employees are working instead of waiting.
You could save money by transitioning to VoIP.
You may have been hesitating to trade your conventional landline or PBX system into a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone service. You may have wondered whether you would get business-class quality with VoIP.
With fiber, hesitate no more. You’ll finally have the bandwidth to move to this technology, which will lower your costs – as much as 50% over traditional on-site PBX systems – and provide a richer feature set to help your employees communicate more efficiently.
According to Software Advice, more SMBs already use VoIP service (36%) than any other type of telephone service. Plain old telephone service, or POTS, use is currently at 24%, whereas primary rate interface (PRI), an older digital PBX format, is at just 11%.
You could be better prepared in case of a disaster.
A recent survey found that 64% of small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) believe a data loss in the case of a natural or man-made disaster would be a life-and-death situation for them. And 75% of SMBs report that the threat of downtime is their biggest driver for purchasing business continuity solutions.
So again, what does this have to do with fiber? Because with fiber Internet, you can easily use an online backup service and store your data remotely. You’ll be in much better shape if hit by a hurricane or earthquake – or a human attacker who physically takes down your servers. If you’ve got fiber, you can restore your server operating systems, applications and data quickly and efficiently with less loss of information. Trying to do this with regular Internet speeds would take hours upon hours. You can’t afford that kind of downtime. If you’ve ever had to get your business back online after a disaster using traditional broadband, you know this is a very real issue that fiber easily solves.
Your business will be more flexible.
One the top benefits of fiber is that you can change the speed of your business based on what’s going on in your business without additional installs. Take seasonal businesses, for example. Most companies experience busy and less-busy periods and don’t need large amounts of bandwidth all the time. With traditional broadband, you might have worried that if you promoted a big sale or the holiday season was approaching, your e-commerce site might not handle the traffic. A fiber-based network foundation allows you to increase your bandwidth over a scalable service such as Ethernet so your customers don’t experience any site crashes or delays. Your customers are happy, you make more money and you keep your business’ reputation intact.
Rapidly expanding businesses can also benefit from the flexibility of fiber. You can expand your bandwidth as you hire new employees, getting them up and running quickly without tying up your network. If you know you’re going to be growing your business, you can plan ahead and scale your network connectivity to meet your future needs.
You could move to the cloud more swiftly and with more confidence.
The smaller your company, the more likely you have already committed to the cloud. Businesses with fewer than 19 employees are almost 20% more likely to have adopted the cloud than businesses with more than 500 employees. Why? Because the cloud saves them money. A full 80% of SMBs said that moving to the cloud saved them an average of 20%. And SMBs are being savvy: 70% reported reinvesting the cash they saved back into their businesses to spur growth.
What does this have to do with fiber? Fiber makes it possible to move more of your critical business functions to the cloud and while maintaining the high performance of a local area network. The more functions you can move to the cloud, the more money you can save.
With traditional broadband, the connections often aren’t fast – or stable – enough. Imagine if your accounting program was in the cloud, and your network connection was too slow, or even went down completely, just as you were in the middle of your billing. That would hurt.
But fiber-based service offers the bandwidth that can enable you to successfully deploy solutions such as Microsoft® Office 365, file-sharing services like Egnyte and all the other software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications that are taking over the small-business IT landscape.
Once considered an expensive splurge, high-performance, fiber-based broadband is today an essential business tool. It has evolved to the point where fiber-based services are financially affordable even for the smallest businesses. Not just affordable – they save money, boost productivity and keep SMBs more stable and secure than traditional broadband technologies.