Business owners often underestimate the planning and execution needed to switch internet service providers (ISPs). Attracted by faster speeds and lower prices, changing a business ISP can appear to be an easy decision but it is critical that business is not lost during the transition.
These planning and execution tips can help business owners make the transition with minimal impact on staff and customers:
- Know your network complexity: Do your homework and make sure you have the answer to the following questions before you start. Do you have a single office location or several branch offices? Do your employees work remotely and need on-demand access to corporate data? How many hosted systems (web server, email server, Domain Name System and Mail Exchanger, e-commerce) come into play? How many of these hosted systems are provided by the current ISP and by other third parties? How much data and how many applications do you have in the cloud? Will you be able to move your network with internal IT staff or will you need help from the new ISP or a third party?
- Keep employees and customers in the loop: Notify employees first and customers second of the pending switchover. If certain systems (email, website, etc.) will not be available during the switchover, let everyone know. Allow for a week of downtime even if the new ISP says the change will only take a day or two.
- Timing: Schedule the switchover to take place on a weekend but not a holiday. Holiday scheduling leaves minimal staff on hand at most ISPs and IT consulting companies.
- Day of switchover: The new ISP will send a technician to configure your modem and install any cabling that is needed. Then, all routers and servers will need to be reconfigured and updates must be made to the default gateway address and subnet mask. Once this work is complete, reboot all computers, servers, routers and switches to verify that each device can access the internet.
- Update your records: In most cases, you will need to update your Mail Exchange records after porting your domain from the old ISP to the new one. This update, which allows your new ISP to receive mail coming from your domain, can take several days to take effect. To ensure that your mail keeps flowing, list your former ISP as the second-highest priority in the Mail Exchange table.
- Accept the overlap: Understand that you will be paying two ISPs to assure business continuity. Expect an overlap of at least 30 days – longer if you are having connectivity issues. Once all problems have been, disconnect from the former ISP.
- Expert assistance: Having an internal IT professional or expert third-party on hand is advised both on the day of switchover and a few days afterward.
Switching ISPs makes sense if you need more speed, want a better price or have outgrown your current ISP’s capability. The experts at Carmichael Consulting can work with you to help you select the most appropriate ISP, as well as plan and execute your switchover. To learn more, call 678-719-9671, email [email protected], or visit www.carmichaelconsulting.net.