Read these 7 Business ISP Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about ISP tips and hundreds of other topics.
Businesses have to be even more concerned with security than ordinary home users. Many businesses hire special ISP security consultants to audit the security of their business Internet set-up and intranets. While smaller businesses cannot afford such consultants, it is still important for them to take the ordinary security precautions. Keep all software up-to-date, and replace software that doesn't have up-to-date versions (most notably IE) with alternative software that does. Don't allow guessable passwords, and change default passwords. Never use insecure protocols like FTP, bare POP3, or Telnet but instead use more secure alternatives like SFTP, WebDAV, APOP, SSL, and SSH. These simple steps will make your business Internet much tougher to crack.
In general a business should never use free Internet services. There are a few key reasons for this. The first is that the ISP reliability ratings of the free services tend not to compare well against the ISP reliability ratings of the paid services. The second is that most of the free ISP services will show advertisements (potentially competitors' advertisements) on your displays. The third is that people who are a little Internet-savvy will quite literally make jokes about businesses that have e-mail addresses in domains like aol.com or hotmail.com. You don't want your business to lose respect before people even examine your goods.
Internet access for business is different from Internet access for home use. When companies offer home Internet access, they expect that in most cases just one or two computers will be connected to the service and only a tiny amount of bandwidth will be consumed. Businesses on the other hand typically boast intranets with dozens (or hundreds or even thousands) of computers hooked up to them and are large consumers of bandwidth. Businesses also rely on their ISP services more (on the average) and potentially lose money if their connection goes down. ISPs thus treat business customers more seriously, and they tend to likewise charge significantly more for business accounts.
VoIP is an exciting new ISP technology that can benefit businesses and ordinary people alike. Businesses often have to pay exorbitant amounts of money to set up elaborate phone systems, and then spend large sums of money for monthly upkeep. VoIP won't reduce the set-up cost; it'll stay about the same. It will however greatly reduce the monthly expenses. Businesses that have just purchased new traditional phone systems will not be able to economically switching to VoIP systems. Businesses that are looking into getting new phone systems though should strongly consider the VoIP alternative. More and more businesses are considering VoIP technology to be a standard part of their business Internet.
Business ISPs have to have good reliability and capability. If a home ISP goes down for a few minutes, it's an annoyance. If a business ISP goes down for a few minutes, potentially customers get negatively impacted and sales get lost. A typical business ISP will also tend to focus on a particular group of ISP services. Thus you'll frequently find a business hiring multiple ISPs for different tasks -- for example, one for its ISP Web hosting, another for its Internet access, and possibly still another specializing in ISP security.
Business ISPs that focus on Web hosting services should offer dynamic Web hosting among their ISP technologies. An internet service provider business plan for the Web will usually have a back-end database (like PostgreSQL, Oracle, or even MySQL) for holding business records, and a dynamic engine like Zope, JSP, or WebObjects to automatically make use of that data to generate pages on demand. The rationale for this approach is one of cost: no business wants to pay an outlandish sum of money to have its entire site redesigned when a single new product or service is added or upgraded. With dynamic Web hosting capabilities, a product or service may be added or changed once in the database and the entire Web site will modify itself accordingly. It's a little more expensive to set up, but it pays for itself over the life of the Web site.
Business Web hosting is quite a bit different from personal home page hosting. ISP security and ISP reliability are both extremely important. A cheap ISP with poor security will potentially cost your business more in a day than it'll save in a year if it gets cracked. Businesses often need more ISP technologies than regular home users. Most businesses will need some sort of dynamic Web hosting capabilities, for just one example.