ReidReid Riley, Solutions Architect | Safe Systems

The cloud era is upon us.  Applications are being pulled into the cloud and away from the workplace. A growing number of small to medium businesses continue to adopt these new applications. What applications you say? Just to name a few:  hosted email, cloud backup and disaster recovery, hosted storage such as Dropbox, CRM products like SalesForce, video teleconferencing, and possibly even some of your core business applications. Not only does your Internet connection have to support these services, it also has to support the day-to-day usage by your employees. The bandwidth utilization can really add up quickly and before you realize it, your Internet connection is completely saturated.

So what does this mean for your financial institution? Well, it will more than likely mean you will need to upgrade your internet connection. A survey in 2011 by Altman Vilandrie & Company stated that two-thirds of businesses will need to upgrade their internet bandwidth within the next twelve months. This trend is driven mostly by cloud services and the rapid growth of mobile devices.  Most small to medium businesses currently use a T1 or DSL line to connect to the internet. Once considered top of the line for most small to medium businesses, a T1 just won’t cut it anymore.

It’s important to understand exactly what you get from a T1 circuit.  A typical T1 provides 1.544 Megabits per second upstream and downstream of bandwidth.  In comparison, a typical low-end business class cable internet solution is 20 Megabits downstream and 4 Megabits upstream of bandwidth.  This is a big increase over the bandwidth provided by a T1 circuit.

Internet bandwidth isn’t all about download speed either.  In the past, consumers only cared how quickly they could download a file. Now, most of these new cloud services use upstream bandwidth. A few services that rely heavily on upstream bandwidth include cloud backup, hosted file sharing, video teleconferencing, and VPN connectivity using the internet. So if you do look for new internet services, make sure you are looking at upstream bandwidth along with downstream bandwidth.

Speed is not the only factor in buying new internet services. Network reliability and redundancy is also a major factor. With businesses using cloud services for mission critical applications, the need for a reliable and redundant internet service becomes even more crucial. Some institutions no longer even purchase private WAN circuits to connect their main office to other branches. Instead, they use a VPN via their internet connections. This allows them to obtain more bandwidth at a cheaper price.

If your financial institution would like to take advantage of the great new cloud services, you should really consider upgrading your current internet connection. The adoption of cloud services is not going to slow down, and high-speed internet service pricing has become more affordable than those expensive T1’s from years ago. If you are one of those institutions still using a T1, maybe it’s time to shop around and get a quote.