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Michelle-Pluskota283x283

Michelle Pluskota

Vice President, Business Services, Big South Region at Comcast Business

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The Facts About Choosing a Tech Provider

April 30, 2015

From our work with many business clients, we know that selecting the right tech provider can help companies successfully create operational efficiencies and reduce expenses. Unfortunately, several myths often stand in the way.

From our work with many business clients, we know that selecting the right tech provider can help companies successfully create operational efficiencies and reduce expenses. Unfortunately, several myths often stand in the way when companies consider switching to another supplier of Internet and voice services, as my colleague Todd England discussed recently on “Small Talk with Mark S. Lee.” Some companies believe these myths so strongly that they accept inefficiencies and excessive expenses rather than research the facts that prove these myths are ungrounded.

Five myths stand out as most harmful to companies thinking about switching tech providers:

First myth: We will lose our voice services.

Many companies are afraid that if they select a new tech provider, they will lose all phone numbers associated with their businesses. They believe the current company providing their voice service owns these numbers and will keep them if they switch to another provider.

Fact: This is false. Businesses with landline (or wireless) phones are covered by FCC rulings that ensure when they switch service providers within the same geographic area they can keep all their telephone numbers — including regular numbers, toll-free numbers and the main line into the business that allows multiple calls over a single path.

Second myth: We will lose our important data.

Some companies believe that if they switch tech providers they will lose their email addresses, contacts, proprietary information and other data. They fear such a loss would put them out of business.

Fact: This is false, for the most part. A tech provider does not control any contacts, proprietary files or similar information. It has nothing to do with this data, which is typically stored on the company’s servers or computers or in a vendor’s cloud-based location.

However, some companies may still use email addresses provided by and ending with the name of their Internet provider. Multiple sources strongly recommend companies set up email addresses customized for their businesses. Doing so will prohibit the loss of these addresses when switching to a new tech provider.

Third myth: We will have to rewire our offices.

Many businesses have been led to believe their data network wiring is proprietary to their current tech providers, and if they change Internet suppliers they will need to completely rewire their offices.

Fact: There is no truth to this. As an alternate Internet source, a new tech provider simply plugs into the company’s local area network that connects the computers to the router or firewall and then to the Internet.

Fourth myth: We will lose our connectivity to emergency systems.

Some companies will not consider making a switch because they believe their providers’ digital phone circuits are incompatible with their emergency burglary, fire, elevator and panic-alarm systems, causing these systems to be inoperable.

Fact: While this was a challenge several years ago, this is no longer true. Today’s digital phone systems are completely capable of connecting to a company’s emergency systems and most are accredited with the National Association of State Fire Marshals and certified by the National Fire Protection Agency.

Fifth myth: All tech providers use the same network to connect to the Internet.

Many companies believe this myth is true and think, therefore, that it doesn’t matter which provider they use because none is better than any other.

Fact: This is also inaccurate. The right Internet service provider can make a big difference to your business. Although some Internet suppliers are resellers of the same, traditional telephone network, others are not. Those connected to this network offer primarily the same value proposition, but others provide a key advantage: redundancy. A tech provider with its own network uses an alternate path to the Internet, a separate path — all the way to the utility line — that provides added and redundant protection against network outages. Furthermore, because this provider is independent, it conducts its own maintenance and offers larger bandwidth and scalability.

Although these five myths are often accepted at face value, they simply are not true. And we believe no such myth should stand in the way of any company’s ability to rely on technology to move it forward, create operational efficiencies and add cost savings to the bottom line.

This article was originally published on Crain’s Detriot Business.

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