For many organisations, network performance is a business continuity issue. A poorly performing network can mean core operations slowing down and even grinding to a halt. When your business, charity or nonprofit relies on being online, continual network analysis should be part of your business continuity framework.
The need for a high performing network can be even more important during a business continuity crisis. When the pandemic hit last year, thousands of organisations found themselves switching to remote working almost overnight. That often meant the adoption of a range of new cloud services to keep dispersed teams connected and productive. The upshot of all this new online activity was that many corporate networks struggled to cope.
No going back
Today, the innovations that were adopted as pandemic stopgaps are morphing into permanent solutions. Part time remote working (often known as ‘hybrid’ work) is most likely here to stay. Organisations have seen the productivity and efficiency benefits of accelerated digital transformation, and will be loath to put the genie back in the box. When you’ve tried business-grade cloud communications tools, for example, or collaborated on documents in real time using Office 365, you don’t want to go back to the old ways.
But that does mean you need a network that can cope. When you rely on digital services for everything from communications to cashless payments, network performance becomes a business continuity issue. Or to put it bluntly, when your network goes down, so do you.
But the problem isn’t just with complete network dropouts. A poorly performing network can still undermine your operations, even without stopping them completely. It might mean that video calls stutter and freeze, or that file downloads take much longer than expected. The continual transfer of data back and forth to cloud-based services might slow to snail pace, reducing productivity and frustrating staff.
Invest in connectivity
So how do you guard against poor network performance? The first priority is to invest in the best connectivity you can afford. Connectivity is at the core of network performance, and now might be the time to think about an upgrade. The connectivity that worked for you before the pandemic may no longer offer the speed and bandwidth you need. Full fibre (FTTP) is the broadband gold standard, but there are plenty of cost-effective options to shore up your internet connection, from part fibre FTTC to a dedicated private line.
After that, the key to a fully functioning network is analysis, monitoring and feedback. What does network monitoring actually mean? A monitoring system tracks data along cables and through servers, switches, connections and routers. If that data encounters an obstacle, monitoring solutions can identify the source of the problem, feedback and help you solve it.
That kind of system analysis helps you identify issues before they result in damaging downtime, or time consuming calls to the service desk. Keeping your core network in rude good health is one way to help ensure business continuity. In the event of an emergency, network analysis can help you pinpoint bottlenecked data and determine the remedial action that needs to be taken.
Network analysis tools
Exactly what you measure may depend on your own priorities. But common network performance metrics include network bandwidth, throughput (the amount of data successfully delivered in a specific amount of time), latency and jitter (delays in data transfer). They can all adversely affect network performance and, as a result, productivity and efficiency.
Tools are available to check these and other metrics, but smaller organisations may not have the in-house expertise or time to continually monitor network performance. In many cases a good network provider will offer monitoring and feedback as part of its service package. That will include checking for cybersecurity concerns as well as dips in performance.
It’s also now possible to monitor specific parts of your network, via the reporting features that are often included in good cloud-based solutions. For example, unified communications packages often include data analytics that measure employee productivity. These reports can also help to pinpoint network performance issues. When productivity suddenly drops, it’s often due to a technical issue.
It’s clear that network analysis is an important part of any business continuity strategy. Not only is a resilient network essential during times of stress – such as a global health pandemic – it’s crucial at any time. The better your network performance, the better your business. Monitoring your network can ensure you’re always working at peak capacity.
Contact Everything Voice
For more information on future-proofing your business communications, please contact Everything Voice. We would be happy to help. Simply book a call, fill in an enquiry form, or chat with us now online.