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Manufacturing IT : 9 Critical Questions to Ask a Potential Network Provider

There are many important questions manufacturers should ask potential Network providers. There needs to be a high level of comfort with the company selected and that starts with asking the right questions.  It’s also critical to choose a partner that will support your organization’s move towards Industry 4.0 and digital transformation. 

Here are nine crucial questions to ask any potential Network partner. 

1. Where is your network located? 

Regional providers may be able to create direct fiber paths between your facilities. This reduces latency and avoids relying on more extensive, circuitous networks. It’s a good idea to ask to see a network map such as this.

2. What are their bandwidth capabilities?

You will need to know the maximum speed that your network can offer. Also, is it scalable based on your business needs, and can you dial up capacity when you need it? Finally, is it future-proof? Learn more about why you may need more bandwidth.

3. How resilient is my connection? 

Look for a provider that can design, deliver and support a solution that reduces the likelihood of an outage by eliminating single points of failure through redundant routes. 

4. Do you guarantee uptime? Does that include an SLA written with my needs in mind?

Consider what matters to your business the most and then ask providers to stand behind those metrics, whether it’s speed, performance, or support response time. 

5. What percentage of the network do you own? 

When you need an answer, you should be able to go straight to the source—the owner of the network, not a reseller—which means faster troubleshooting and resolution. A regional provider with full network ownership may be able to create direct fiber paths between your facilities. 

6. Can you create a network solution customized for my organization?

  • Large, national providers often don’t take the time to understand the specific needs of your business or develop solutions designed to meet them.  
  • Regional providers have a one-to-one relationship with their customers and can be more flexible with solutions, terms and Service Level Agreements (SLA’s). 

7. Do you also offer managed IT services?

Streamlining your technology vendors with a single source for everything — from the remote support and firewall to SD-WAN and colocation can make your life easier (and cuts down on employee overhead). You can learn more about leveraging the power of our managed IT services and read our blog post on navigating the maze of IT services.

8. How do you ensure network reliability? 

You should ask how they plan to avoid outages. Is support available 24/7/365 and what is the average wait time? Will you be able to speak directly to someone who knows you and your business? 

9. How secure is your network? 

What protocols and systems do they have to ensure your data integrity remains intact, and how often are these protocols evaluated and updated? Are they compliant with the major security laws, governmental regulations and industry standards?  

Ready to learn more? 

There are many other factors in selecting the right IT partner for your specific needs. If you have questions and would like to learn more about what to look for in an  IT partner, get in touch with us for a no-obligation consultation.