5 Ways Local Broadband Providers Are Boosting Small Business Success


(BPT) - Small businesses have a significant impact on their customers and surrounding communities. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 33 million small businesses that employ almost half of America's private sector workforce. These businesses play a vital role in local communities, driving economic activity and employment. When small businesses thrive, their communities thrive, too.

However, these businesses face many challenges. Small business owners do not have the resources to manage their networks or tackle technology issues. They need increasingly more sophisticated IT solutions but don’t have a dedicated IT staff to support them. Choosing the right broadband solutions to support their business is critical to success.

Increasingly, local broadband service providers (BSPs) with a vision to foster economic growth in their communities are bridging this gap by offering managed services tailored for small businesses – services that extend far beyond just fast Wi-Fi. For example, recent broadband innovation from Calix (a leading cloud technology company for the broadband industry) enables BSPs to serve more small businesses with a purpose-built broadband solution that meets their unique needs. These small business services include enhanced security measures and cybersecurity reporting across four dedicated networks – business, point-of-sale, staff and customer – to enable small business owners to safeguard their critical online activities.

SCTelcom in Kansas, RTC Networks in North Dakota, and DirectLink in Oregon are examples of BSPs delivering these services to support the success of local small businesses. SCTelcom is attracting more opportunity and generating economic vitality in south-central Kansas, while DirectLink and RTC Networks are reinforcing their positions as the preferred BSP for small businesses in their regions.

Small business owners rely on their BSPs to be dependable technology partners, helping them maintain the safety and security essential to their success. In honor of Small Business Month, Calix offers five ways BSPs can enable small businesses in their communities to thrive.

1. Robust network-level security

In the U.S., cyberattacks are on the rise and should be top of mind for companies of all sizes. According to 60% of small businesses, cybersecurity is a primary concern. Last year, more than 3,200 data breaches were reported. In addition, 51% of small businesses have no cybersecurity measures in place and 85% of ransomware attacks targeted small businesses in 2023. A report from IBM found that smaller organizations are increasingly impacted by data breaches, with the resulting financial burden increasing by 13% from 2022 to 2023. Research indicates that 95% of cybersecurity incidents can cost small businesses up to $653,587 due to downtime, lost business, emergency solutions, legal, and regulatory fines.

While these facts may be scary, small businesses can protect themselves with robust network-level security. BSPs offer comprehensive security measures to protect critical business systems and data, including integrated firewalls, isolated business, staff, guest, point-of-sale networks, intrusion alerts, content filtering and reporting of blocked threats.

2. Secure network access control

Network access controls are policies, procedures, protocols, tools and applications that define, regulate and restrict what an individual or entity can do on one’s network. To protect against internal and external threats, small businesses need segmented networks for employees, customers, and business systems. Each segmented network should have tailored authentication and security policies to ensure data protection and regulatory compliance.

3. Network resilience

Most people have experienced network problems at home. While those issues can be frustrating and inconvenient, they can cause severe problems when it comes to running a business. Network problems create downtime, which can be catastrophic for small businesses.

Local BSPs deliver uninterrupted connectivity and continuous operations to small businesses in their communities, minimizing potential losses during network disruptions.

4. Simplified staff network management

Regardless of the number of employees, small businesses need to manage network access for staff effectively. Seamless network onboarding and offboarding processes for employees and insights into employee productivity can enhance operational efficiency and improve network security, saving time, money, and headaches for small business owners.

5. Enhanced customer experiences

Providing guests with Wi-Fi connectivity is no longer a luxury; it's a necessity for attracting and retaining customers. Small businesses can improve customer experience and satisfaction by offering secure Wi-Fi, driving loyalty and increasing spending.

Finding the right broadband service provider for small businesses

Depending on the BSP that services their community, small business owners will find different levels and implementations of cybersecurity, network safety and productivity tools.

Calix SmartBiz enables BPS to offer a variety of features that help small businesses improve productivity, secure important online activities, and delight their customers with safe, secure Wi-Fi that holds up to the most demanding streaming services. As a result, small business owners can focus on doing what they do best, not tackling complicated IT issues.

Small business owners should talk with their internet providers about deploying SmartBiz or contact SCTelcom, RTC Networks or DirectLink to learn how they’re supporting the success of small businesses in their communities.