Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

“Slow and steady” or “fast but breaks”? Cutting SMBs’ connectivity compromises

August 9, 2018

Running a small business can be incredibly rewarding. But let’s be honest – there are plenty of things that can grind your gears.

We recently played a game of “Would You Rather?” with small business owners, to get to the heart of the biggest SMB gripes.

Business Owners Play Would You Rather

"We don't hire sniffers or foot tappers."

Posted by BuzzFeed UK on Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Sniffer or foot-tapper?

There was plenty of controversy, particularly when it came to whether respondents would rather sit next to a sniffer or a foot-tapper. Answers were split but equally heartfelt: “It’s really hard because both of them are awful qualities in co-workers”, as Louise from PlanSnap neatly summarised.

There was an overwhelming consensus, however, when it came to SMBs’ connection speeds. Leaders chose ‘fast but breaks’ over ‘slow and steady every time.’

Sadly, we can’t help you with your sniffers and foot-tappers. But we can help you get online quicker.

Why slow and steady “should be illegal”

It’s not hard to tell why you’re so set on fast and unreliable over slow and consistent.

Speed is one of the SMB’s greatest natural allies. Lose your ability to move quickly, and you’ll lose your ability to outpace larger businesses.

Sluggish networks can also be a serious cause of employee frustration. It’s not only a block on productivity – poor speeds can leave your team struggling to keep up with the demands of their colleagues and customers.

But it doesn’t have to be a choice between the tortoise and the hare. Here are three tips for creating a connection that’s fast and consistent:

  • Optimise your traffic

The network is your route to the internet. However, there are more demands on an SMB’s network than ever before with the rise of connected devices, cloud adoption and of course, that perennial IT dilemma, BYOD.

Small businesses need a fast, reliable, flexible network that can cope with the usage peaks and troughs of today – and there are tools to help.

Using intelligent routers and switches can give you greater application visibility and control. Moving to centralised cloud management for networking devices can also deliver richer visibility and real-time management for IT assets on the whole network.

In a nutshell, it means you can prioritise the business-critical data traffic flowing through the network and even ramp up capacity in minutes when needed.

  • Ready, set, grow

A growing business is a cause for celebration. It can also create connectivity challenges when your network doesn’t keep pace with your bottom line.

One way to expand your capacity ensuring you have the flexibility needed for the future is to embrace the cloud in your networking solutions.

The cloud enables businesses to expand the number of ports required on demand, adding capacity as easily as pushing a button without forking out on major additional expenses.

Planning for times of growth is key when you’re an SMB – and that means creating a network that can scale along with you.

  • Safe as houses

If you want a network that’s fast, you have to guard against the ultimate speedbump: the cyber-attack.

Create a network with innate security and the most up to date preventative tools, including next-generation firewalls, VPNs, secure servers and good password management

This will enable your team to rapidly identify and mitigate security threats, avoiding damage to your reputation as well as the much-dreaded downtime.

Connectivity without compromise

To learn more about building a network that delivers speed without sacrificing stability, check out our guide to SMB Networking Essentials.

And best of luck with those foot-tappers…

For more information on how Cisco can help your SMB click here.

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