The secret’s out and it’s been out for a while. If you’re in technology and want to triple your valuation, slap “as a service” (aaS) behind whatever you are doing and stick it in the cloud. Software as a Service, Gaming as a Service, Connectivity as a Service, Ice cream as a Service—what, you’ve never heard of the last one? That’s where someone delivers ice cream to your office every week for a monthly fee. Just kidding. The point is that the ubiquity of the cloud can no longer be disputed.
As varied and exciting as these “as a Services” have been, they all require one very important bit of infrastructure—the internet. No internet, no cloud. And, the internet is mostly a public utility. It’s crowded and, in some cases, unsafe. On the public internet, you have to share connectivity with millions of other people.
On this week’s show, we’re going to discuss the alternative: Dedicated Internet Access (DIA). Don MacNeil, CEO, and Brandy Hughes, Marketing and Communications Manager, from FiberLight share this growing trend with us. Direct connectivity of this kind is becoming a necessity for businesses with ever-increasing reliance on cloud technology, needs for bandwidth and concerns about security.
Assess Your Needs
Many of the companies we’ve had on CEO Exclusive are incredibly fast growing, doubling or tripling in a given year. These businesses are hungry beasts, and one pitfall is not knowing how much of anything is needed to sustain the growth—including bandwidth. Don sites this issue as the biggest problem he sees with mid-market companies and their use of cloud technology. He says, “As you move things from your location to the cloud, I think the size of the connection coming into your location [is] underestimated. It’s too small. It’s a really difficult thing to gauge. So, one of the things to think about is: ‘Are we planning ahead enough to make sure that now, when we may have a dedicated connection, is it properly sized?’ Because, with the agility and all of the flexibility that comes with the cloud, I believe you [will] see that your staff, your team, your company, starts to use this new-found capability in new and better ways. Which translates to more interaction, and therefore, requiring more bandwidth.”
As your company growth explodes, so will your need for bandwidth and perhaps, DIA. What is Dedicated Internet Access? It’s a contractually agreed amount of bandwidth that’s dedicated to a single company. All yours. No sharing. DIA is typically implemented with fiber optic cables, and that’s were FiberLight comes in. It’s super-fast, very stable, and more secure than other ways of accessing the internet. And of course, it’s also more expensive.
Do you need it? Most mid-market use cases are for companies that are moving vast amounts of data, like media companies or creative agencies. However, with other technology trends that we’re all following, like AI and big data, the amount of data being exchanged on the internet will just continue to grow exponentially. Adopting fiber DIA may be just a matter of time.
Develop a Plan
FiberLight quotes a statistic that 90% of companies have deployed some sort of cloud strategy. But, while cloud adoption is an assumption for most businesses, the migration of activity and applications is still in the early phases. Don observes, “I would tell you with regard to the amount of things moving from a customers’ premise (whether it’s the phone system, or their Office 365, or their other applications) into the cloud, I think we’re in the first inning. So, it’s now a snowball effect. ‘So I did one thing, I did the easy thing. Now, I’m going to push the rest of it.’”
Many questions form the basis of your cloud strategy and will therefore determine the amount of bandwidth you need at any given time. What are you going to migrate? Over what time period? How are you going to integrate these applications? In Gartner’s article, 5 Questions to Answer When Building a Cloud Strategy, they assert, “Organizations that lack a high-level cloud strategy risk wasted investment and failure.” Determining your underlying infrastructure needs is a critical part of that plan.
Learn What’s Out There
If you anticipate bandwidth as a potential infrastructure constraint, you and your technology team can take the time to learn what’s out there in terms of dedicated bandwidth. There are a few options, including doing nothing, if this isn’t a priority. When you do decide to pursue a dedicated internet experience, here are some options, courtesy of NetworkWorld, an IDG publication:
- T-1—If your office has a T1 line, it means that the phone company has brought a fiber optic line into your office (a T1 line might also come in on copper). A T1 line can carries 24 digitized voice channels, or it can carry data at a rate of 1.544 megabits per second.
- T-3—Souped up T-1. A T3 line is a dedicated physical circuit that uses high-speed media to transmit data, voice and video at the rate of 45 Mbps. It offers a broadband connection consisting of 672 individual channels of 64 kilobits each.
- Ethernet over Copper (EoC)— An affordable form of Ethernet connection that uses twisted pair copper telephone wire. The speed available depends on the location of the business, the condition of the copper wires and the distance from the nearest Central Office (CO).
- Dedicated Fiber (a.k.a. fast ethernet, metro ethernet, ethernet over fiber)—Ethernet over fiber is delivered over a single fiber optic connection to offer any amount of bandwidth up to 10 Gbps.
- Dedicated Fixed-Wireless—If there’s no wired infrastructure, fixed-wireless in an option. Fixed wireless Internet systems, also called microwave wireless networks, transmit data via highly focused radio waves to roof-mounted antennas. Once the signal reaches its target, the data captured by the antenna then travels through the building’s Ethernet network.
One thing you have to love about America—everything is for sale for the right price.
Private cars, private islands, private jets, and now private internet. If you are willing to spend the money, you can skip the waiting and indignities of pretty much any aspect of life in favor of your own higher level of service. In particular, companies can get white glove service in how they connect to the cloud. While it will certainly improve the experience, making it faster and safer, there’s no caviar included—at least not yet.