As your company relies increasingly on the internet, your choice of Internet Service Provider (ISP) is more important than ever. Here are six factors you should consider when choosing an ISP to support your business needs.

Responsive Customer Service

This may not be the first thing that comes to mind, since many people think of internet as a commodity. However, your business likely can’t run without internet, so if you do have any issues, it is important to resolve them as soon as possible. Some good questions to ask could be:

  • Do you have local customer support?
  • What is the average time to answer the phone?
  • Does a person answer the call or do you go into an automated system?
  • What percent of issues are resolved by the person who first answers your call?

Reputation in the Marketplace

A company that is responsive and good to work with will naturally form a good reputation in the markets they serve. You may consider how many business accounts they serve, partnerships they have formed with carriers, and local organizations that they participate in. Check with colleagues in your industry, and there may be some that really stand out.

Reliability You can Trust

Can the ISP demonstrate that they are engineered for reliability and fault tolerance, with a diverse infrastructure? Do they have multiple peering locations and a highly redundant core? What is the committed availability guarantee on their Service Level Agreement? For a frame of reference, WIN Technology’s committed availability guarantee is between 99.95-99.99%, depending on the customer’s circuit design.

Direct Peering with Major Cloud and Content Providers

Does the ISP connect directly with major cloud and content providers to ensure high quality, low latency and high reliability when you connect to hosted cloud services? WIN Technology, for instance, peers with over 500 autonomous systems across the continental U.S. and has several major peering points across the U.S. If you’d like to take a look, visit our PeeringDB page.

The Right Type of Connection

Cable and fiber internet are the most common internet connection types used by businesses. While both offer high speed and reliability, with cable you are sharing a line with others. This could result in slower performance during high traffic times. Fiber also delivers faster upload and download times.

Agility and Flexibility to Support Your Business Needs Over Time

Are the ISP’s circuits able to support a wide range of bandwidth needs? Ideally, the provider can offer speeds from 10Mbps to 100Gbps. In addition, they should support connectivity via IPv4, IPv6, BGP or static.

Can the vendor offer custom solutions based on your needs, whether you’re looking for cloud connectivity or diversity among internet providers?  Some large ISP’s can’t offer the flexibility and provide a one-size-fits all solution. Look for a provider that is nimble enough to scale up your bandwidth if you experience issues.

While many organizations consider Internet Service Providers a commodity, these factors outline the important factors to consider as you are making this decision. As you do your research, think about your company’s current and future needs, and the level of service and reliability required for your business performance and growth.