According to RightScale’s 2017 State of the Cloud Survey, companies now run 79% of workloads in the cloud on average.
 
After nearly three decades serving the IT needs of law firms, associations, and small businesses in the DC Metro area and beyond, we’ve seen (and, in many cases, initiated) this shift across our client base. It makes perfect sense – the cloud offers significant benefits, including increased mobility, scalability, ease of use, and – in some cases – even security.
 
But as we continue to migrate our operations to the cloud, businesses can sometimes overlook a critical piece of the puzzle, one that can make or break your experience (and, ultimately, your effectiveness as an organization): proper bandwidth strategy.
 
Below we’ll work through why a bandwidth strategy is so important, and what a successful strategy will address.
 

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Why bandwidth strategy is such a big deal

As businesses move more and more functions to the cloud, we’re putting an increasingly heavy burden on our internet connections. Our connections can only handle a finite amount of demand before we suffer the following consequences:

  • Our performance takes a nose-dive. Cloud applications will be sluggish, and we’ll have a very hard time being productive.
  • As our productivity drops, so too will patience; it won’t be long until your team gets frustrated by the fact that they can’t work effectively.
  • Beyond internal frustration, we might start seeing frustration on the part of our clients, too, who are depending on your team to meet their deadlines and generally be responsive to client needs.

In other words, we’ll see a technical issue very quickly blossom into issues of morale, client satisfaction, and possibly even revenue if billable hours are involved.
 
This can all be avoided with a proper bandwidth strategy, which we’ll explore below.
 

Key elements of a proper bandwidth strategy

Bandwidth strategy is more complex than it might seem – it’s an issue that transcends technology and hits on strategic planning and HR policy as well.

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To make sure your company has a solid bandwidth strategy in place, consider the following:

  • Is your office bandwidth of sufficient quantity and quality?
  • If not, what other business-grade solutions are available to you, and what will it take to implement them?
  • Do you have a secondary internet line that will automatically take the load if your primary line fails?
  • What if all your internet access – primary and secondary – goes down? What is your contingency plan?
  • Have you created a remote work policy that outlines the minimum bandwidth requirements for your remote workers so they can be productive?
  • Is your organization willing to foot the bill for acceptable internet for your remote workers?
  • If a remote worker’s internet access goes down, what specifically do you expect them to do in order to continue working?

Think through each of these, and create formal written policies and procedures wherever appropriate. Wrap them into your technology strategy, your business strategy, and your new employee onboarding routine.
 
It’s not a quick or easy process, but it’s one we all need to take the time to work through if we intend to be our most productive and most effective as a business.
 
Because while the cloud can do wonders for our businesses, our experience will only be as good as the connection behind it.

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