On your marks - bandwidth, businesses and the cloud - Business Works
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On your marks - bandwidth, businesses and the cloud

Ian Jackson, Managing Director, Imerja The pinnacle of sport has just touched down in the UK, as the London Olympic Games have just come to an end and we await the start of the Paralympic Games. It has already been a frantic couple of weeks and many businesses have found themselves in the eye of the storm.

Companies in the capital have had to prepare for many eventualities and from an IT perspective, its therefore not surprising that remote working and mobility solutions have been much sought after.

But for businesses across the UK, the Games have shone a light on the importance of a reliable internet connection. When the Government announced earlier this year that there would likely be connection disruptions due to the predicted extra demand, there was an understandable sense of anxiety. Access to e-mail and the web are now absolutely key an office deprived of internet access is inconceivable.

Fortunately, many internet service providers (ISPs) have put extra contingency measures in place and the Government now believes that business connectivity will be safeguarded.

With the hindsight of the potential and actual risks posed by the Olympics, its an ideal time to review the business benefits of an effective internet connection and the opportunities it can provide.

A faster web speed brings with it obvious advantages, as employees can carry out internet-based activities quicker and more effectively. But if businesses want to get ahead of the curve, a fast internet connection is a necessity in order to make use of the cloud.

Cloud computing refers to the access of data, applications and desktop working environments over the internet. Its been a hot topic in corporate IT for several years now, as businesses look for any way possible to cut their IT costs while improving efficiency.

The cloud is a potential solution to both these issues, as when implemented effectively it can eliminate large capital IT expenses while also enabling mobility and flexible working.

Although it may take time for organisations to make the switch, many see the cloud - in its entirety or for the delivery of a sub-set of their IT needs - as the future of corporate computing.

This is where the importance of connection speed comes in. A fast connection is absolutely crucial when using the cloud to support constant uploading and downloading of information and access to business applications. Every time data is created, it must be uploaded to the cloud, and every time it needs to be accessed it must then be downloaded.

In addition, connection reliability takes on a greater role, as internet access is needed to retrieve corporate data and in some cases access critical applications. Speed may be essential for an effective cloud solution, but a reliable connection is completely vital to ensure on demand access.

At the end of the day, the internet is not 100% infallible. To safeguard against potential loss of connectivity businesses should be looking at secondary back up connections, perhaps with another ISP that can offer a separate connection into the office building. A further option is to use another technology to provide connectivity should the main link go down, such as wireless or 3G, in order to provide business continuity.

In both the cloud and a traditional IT environment preparing and planning can mitigate risk. Businesses should know their capacity, limits and thresholds contingency plans should be in place.

The Olympics have highlighted how important a fast and reliable internet connection is, but for companies looking to take a step into the cloud, speed and reliability are absolutely paramount.

Ian Jackson is Managing Director at Imerja - for more information, please visit: www.imerja.com

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