Small business tip sheets
Broadband Continuity Plan
Your broadband service can be a critical business asset. If your broadband service failed, could your business continue to operate effectively?
To minimise the risk you are advised to:
a) Perform a risk assessment for your business use of broadband
b) Obtain the most resilient broadband service that you can afford – to match the level of risk.
c) Write an action plan of what you would do if you broadband failed (outage)
Download: Credit Reporting72.5 KB
Download: Credit Reporting817.83 KB
What is credit reporting?
Credit reporting is used by organisations to help decide whether or not they are willing to lend money to a particular person. Credit providers and credit reporting agencies are the main organisations involved in credit reporting. Credit providers are businesses such as banks, car loan companies and telecommunications service providers that lend money or provide credit to their customers.
Credit providers send information about your debts to private companies called credit reporting agencies (CRAs). There are three main CRAs in Australia:
Expect excellent customer service
A recent survey of 260 small businesses found that an average of 32% of small businesses have experienced significant customer service problems such as difficulty in contacting their provider, being placed on hold, getting a problem resolved, having to call multiple times, being passed between departments, billing issues and resolution response times. If this sounds like your small business then you are losing valuable time which could be spent making sales - so read this Tip Sheet for guidance on reducing this problem.
Not all providers are equal when it comes to customer service, but all of them are required to do a few things:
- Deal with your enquiries quickly and effectively
- Try to resolve any problem the first time you contact them
- Protect your personal information
You have a right to complain to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) if your provide Is hard to get in contact with, for example if your call isn't answered or does not respond to emails within a reasonable period of time.
How to choose a cloud computing provider
Download: How to choose a Cloud Computing Provider534.42 KB
Download: How to choose a Cloud Computing Provider58.83 KB
Cloud services are becoming increasingly popular as consumers begin to look for new ways to store and save their data. If you are a small business and looking for suggestions on how to choose one of many cloud service providers, take a look at ACCAN's tip sheet.
What is "The Cloud"?
Cloud computing is best described as storing and accessing data, programs and services over the internet rather than from your computer hard drive or server located on your business premises.
How to choose an internet service provider (ISP)
When choosing an ISP, small businesses need to think carefully about the quality of the service they require. ACCAN's Tip Sheet 'Preparing your organisation's Broadband Continuity Plan' provides guidance on matching the quality of IT services with the importance of these services to your business.
There will always be a price/quality trade off when choosing an ISP and most small businesses will need higher quality than the typical household or individual consumer plan. Many ISPs have business areas on their web sites and offer 'Business Grade' services. Carefully consider the inclusions and exclusions in these plans and match them to your business needs.
Preparing your organisation's Business Continuity Plan
What is a 'Business Continuity Plan' (BCP)?
It is a fact of life that emergencies will happen, and computer and communications systems will fail. To minimise the problems for your business it is advisable to have a business continuity plan which:
- Outlines what you have done in advance to prevent interruptions to vital services
- Lists the steps you and staff will take during an interruption to continue operations
- Lists the steps you will take to fully restore services after an interruption
- Sets up a Post Incident Review (PIR) after an interruption has occurred
Sample BCPs are available on the internet where you will also find sites that have extensive instructions on their construction and implementation.
Preparing your organisation’s Fixed Voice Business Continuity Plan
Your business landline (fixed voice service) can be a critical business asset. If your fixed voice service failed, would your business continue to operate effectively?
Back-up (or failover) solutions for fixed voice services vary considerably depending on the size of your organisation and the purposes for which you use these services. Most small businesses are highly dependent on their fixed voice services so a continuity plan is important.
To minimise risk to your business from failure of your fixed voice services you should:
- Perform a 'risk assessment' for your business's use of telecommunications
- Obtain the most reliable fixed voice service that you can afford – to match the level of risk.
- Write an action plan for what you would do in the event of a disruption to this service (outage)
Understanding your options for broadband connection
With so many options on the market it can be confusing and challenging to choose a broadband service that suits your business. The information below aims to help you understand the available broadband options for small businesses so you can make the best choice for the operational needs of your business.
What products are available?
The product you choose should be the one that best matches your usage requirements. If your business operates in a single location and only needs the internet for email and a small amount of web browsing, then a standard consumer grade retail plan will be fine. However, if your needs are more complex or you have a high demand for reliable high speed services then it may be worth engaging someone to do a full assessment of your telecommunications needs on a commercial basis.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technologies are the most commonly available broadband connection type in Australia today. DSL enables high speed data transmission over copper wire telephone lines. DSL comes in a range of types according to upload and download data rates, often referred to as the 'speed.' The actual performance will also depend on how long the copper wires are between your premises and the service provider's equipment as well as the quality of those wires.
Which broadband product is right for my business?
There are a range of different options available to small businesses when it comes to broadband. This tip sheet outlines the questions a small business owner should ask when choosing a broadband product.
When trying to decide which broadband product is right for your business, consider:
- Which types of broadband services are available? For information on the services that may be available to you, access our brochure: Understanding your options for broadband connection.
- What type of service would best suit the needs of the business in terms of speed, mobility and monthly data allowance? Refer to your broadband bills from the last 6-12 months to calculate your typical usage.
- Do you need both phone and broadband services? If so, consider the option of bundling (getting all the services from the same provider). You might also want to include mobile services in this bundle. This could save you money but make sure that all the services meet your needs otherwise you could end up spending more than you need to.
- Do you need to upload a lot of data? For example if you are operating a video streaming service or other content rich business.