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How to choose the right internet connection for the cloud

When thinking about the cloud, organisations often look to its potential to cut costs and make users more productive and flexible in their work. But before you get there, you need to think about your prerequisites.

First up, you’ll need an internet connection – and, depending on what you want to do, you might need a pretty fast one. Even adding a couple of cloud solutions to the mix might dramatically alter your bandwidth requirements, as well as your reliability and uptime needs.

1

Consider the kinds of apps you will be running

While all cloud apps need an internet connection to run, their bandwidth requirements can vary wildly according to their features and the number of people using them at once. Basic activities like emailing tend not to clog up the pipes too much, but introduce something like video conferencing, and it's a different matter entirely.

In the most simple terms, text data has fairly modest bandwidth needs. Larger files like images and videos will increase the pressure on your internet connection, and cloud-based unified communications, phone calls, video conferencing and screen sharing, and so on, will eat up more bandwidth still.

2

Know your speed needs

In any instance where the exchange of data between your office and the cloud needs to be near real-time, you’ll need a faster connection. Examples include – once again – audio and video conferencing

3

Work out how it will impact your productivity

At this point, you've probably realised that balancing performance and cost in the cloud isn't necessarily easy, and may require that you make a few sacrifices along the way. If you can, try to measure the potential impact of a faster connection or a bandwidth shortage on your office productivity.

Imagine you're running a bandwidth-intensive cloud backup app: it's probably fine to schedule a backup once a day when the office is empty, but how much will it cost you to run every three hours if work grinds to a halt each time?

4

Think about how many users you need to support

You will need to consider user levels both now and in the future. One of the key drivers for moving to the cloud is that it's very easy to scale up capacity if you need to. However, while adding an extra person to your Office 365 subscription might only cost a few quid, it may weigh heavily on your internet connection.

Also, keep in mind that your connection will, in all likelihood, be used for all manner of bandwidth-intensive non-work activities. Unless you want to be the kind of boss who bans Facebook and YouTube from the office, you're going to need to account for their inevitable bandwidth consumption.

Further information

The information in this how-to guide has been provided by Academia, an NCVO Trusted Supplier.

Academia is an internet service provider, offering cloud-ready broadband connections to organisations of all sizes.

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Page last edited Sep 20, 2016 History

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