How to Reduce your Internet Usage as a Company / Organisation
Depending on your Internet provider, the bill you get for bandwidth usage at the end of the month can be quite a burden on your budget.
Now, you may think the current subscription is enough for your current needs. After all, how much bandwidth do you need to do a bit of research online and send some emails? Well, if you don’t have a strict policy regarding Internet usage at the office and you don’t enforce it properly, you may be in for a surprise.
As it turns out, your employees may be the largest bandwidth consumers, and it’s not even for work!
According to a recent study, the majority of young adults are active on social media nowadays, and many don’t shy away from doing so during work hours. While scrolling through Instagram and watching one or two funny cats videos during the lunch break can be de-stressing, many employees waste around 1 to 3 hours on social media per day!
Besides productivity-related issues, this habit can be detrimental for your organisation in terms of costs. For instance, if you are using a 4G mobile broadband service, then you’d better keep an eye on the upload and download limits (unless you want to pay up to $10 per Gigabyte)!
Sadly, we see this happening to our clients all the time. There have been cases where the business got slapped with a huge bill (somewhere around $4,000+ for one month) because they went over the upload/download limit by only a few hundred Gigabytes (which it’s not that difficult to do).
To avoid such an unpleasant situation, here are some methods and tips to implement in your company to reduce Internet usage for activities that don’t have anything to do with work.
#1: Monitor Everything
If you are using a 4G mobile broadband service, make sure you are on track to keep within your monthly data usage. The provider should offer the option of notifying you via SMS or email alerts when you reach a certain quota (e.g 50%, 75% usage).
#2: Restrict Staff Access to Streaming Services
Streaming services such as YouTube, Spotify, Netflix, and so on put a huge toll on your network. So, by restricting access to them, you save both bandwidth and money. This can be done using a web content filtering service either installed on your computers or applied to the whole office network using a firewall/router hardware device.
Your Managed Services provider would usually configure this for you.
#3: Restrict Access to the Wireless Network
Most employees use mobile devices to browse social media apps such as Facebook and Instagram or they may be streaming music on Spotify. So, by removing all mobile phones and non-company devices or setting them up with limited bandwidth speeds (1mb or less), you save the network for more important tasks.
#4: Temporarily Stop Offsite Data Backups & Cloud Syncing
If your current Internet service comes with limitations, and you’re close to overcoming said limitations, you can temporarily stop offsite data backups and cloud syncing. However, this solution is rather extreme and should only be implemented as a last resort!
To avoid losing data over this, another option is to throttle the bandwidth usage of these services, to keep the process from consuming too much, too fast. It’s not ideal, but it may help you prevent going over the monthly limit.
Still, you must make sure your onsite backups are working correctly, to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
#5: Establish an Internet Usage Policy
It is important to keep open communication with people in your staff regarding internet usage, so they don’t feel oppressed or unnecessarily monitored. For this, it’s best to have a written document that details what is acceptable and what isn’t in terms of internet surfing behaviour when using the office network.
The document should specify the type of services that are to be avoided (movie and music streaming services, online shopping, and so on), sites that are strictly prohibited, if social media browsing for personal use is accepted and if yes, in what format, and so on.
Also, don’t forget to include the reasons why the company put together the policy. Reasons such as affecting server load times, slowing down the entire network, unnecessarily loading the bill, security breaches, and more are valid and can be easily understood by employees.
Change Your Internet Service
The tips and methods mentioned above are useful and can protect your company from extra costs and security breaches. However, there are also situations when the internet connection doesn’t respond to your business needs.
For instance, at your location, there is no fast internet providers like NBN are not available so you are stuck with slow ADSL. Or, maybe you share the internet connection with other businesses and there is someone who is abusing the bandwidth, making it very slow for everyone else.
Of course, you can also choose to opt for a subscription where the speed slows down if you go over the limit (to avoid extra charges). Still, we don’t recommend it if your business depends on a live internet connection! The speed gets so slow that it becomes unusable - after all, who wants to wait five minutes for an email attachment to load in this day and age?
As such, if you don’t want a slow Internet connection, maybe it’s time to consider changing your internet service. There are other technologies apart from NBN that you may be able to get, including Fixed Wireless, Fibre internet, Mobile broadband (4G).
You can also aggregate internet services together to provide more bandwidth and improved reliability. If one connection goes down, the other one will still run so your organisation won’t have to suffer any downtime.
For instance, we are often requested to set up an aggregation of 4G and ADSL2 and configure heavy data usage applications, like offsite data backups, to run over the ADSL2 service (to prevent the 4G exceeding its data usage).
So, if you want better internet speed, talk to us about how you can improve your internet service for your organisation today!