The 3 Biggest Service Provider Challenges (And How to Solve Them)

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PlumeThe world’s first SaaS experience platform for Communications Service Providers.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Simply selling speed is no longer enough – to stand out an in an increasingly competitive market, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) need to go the extra mile in the services they deliver.

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The 3 Biggest Service Provider Challenges (And How to Solve Them)
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As with consumer mobile and broadband providers, simply selling speed isn’t enough for CSPs. This is especially true as they become more involved with in-office equipment for customers. Keeping networks running is up there with keeping the lights on for most modern business operations, whatever the market. And businesses of every size expect high-value services along with connectivity, typically in the form of security and in-office coverage or additional connectivity. Those in procurement, CIO, and CTO roles also expect a range of value-added features from any service provider.

This puts pressure on CSPs to move beyond dumb pipes, raw network, or mobile provision. Solving a prospect’s or customer’s connectivity, coverage, congestion, and security challenges plays a key part in adding value and delivering a compelling service offering.

So in this increasingly competitive market, what are the biggest challenges service providers face and how can they be addressed?

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1. Attitudes to security and employee education

For those providing network connectivity or digital services as part of a package, meeting security and coverage requirements is more likely to deliver client wins. Security is the highest priority on many leadership agendas, from small businesses to enterprises. CIOs, IT operators, and managers remain concerned about the rise in internet and digital threats or other attempts to breach a company’s IT or productivity systems.

The top five risks include:

  • Phishing
  • Malware
  • Weak passwords
  • Ransomware
  • Insider threats

With most of these attacks made by automated bots, the perpetrators don’t care who they’re hacking – only that they can exploit any weakness to steal anything of value or hold a company to digital ransom. This includes accessing accounts and databases in order to steal customer information, product information, or banking details.

Small businesses might not think of themselves as prey to hackers, but almost half are targeted in cyberattacks. Helping them fight this battle with enterprise-grade network security instantly makes any service provider a more valuable partner. Delivering the ability to block threats at the source and limit access to unverified devices is critical in the era of bring your own device (BYOD), especially when many workers still don’t understand the existing threats and risks to a business or their devices. This is something that only education can address, which can be tough in busy office environments.

Automated security is essential due to the volume of malicious network traffic and can act as part of layered system security, along with next-generation firewalls and other tools. While nothing can replace a well-informed and trained workforce, as one of the leading causes of malware attacks is user gullibility and poor practices, preventing malware from reaching them is the next best thing.

Implementing as-a-service, advanced, AI-powered tools, to address the latest threats as they emerge, can save businesses from hiring security experts or network professionals, a luxury many can’t afford.

2. Lost productivity

Even in the 2020s, the cry of “has the network gone down?” still rings out regularly around offices. Usually, the network isn’t the culprit with their being many potential points of failure across devices, routers, and software. Wasting time trying to track down the issue is the bane of many office manager’s lives.

Lost productivity is a serious issue and keeping the network up and running through adaptive WiFi connections using the latest WiFi 6 standard will ensure workers stay connected, whatever devices they’re using. This helps drive productivity up and reduces the hunt for vague network problems.

Smart networks can also deliver strong connectivity across different offices or sections of an open-plan area as required by users. Small businesses often think a residential-class network solution will do the job, but can soon end up with a mess of wires, hubs, and routers as they struggle to provide appropriate, reliable network access.

3. The risk of residential routers

Routers designed for residential use can be a security risk, with many lagging behind on network protection, firmware updates and other elements that could put an office at risk. On the other hand, small businesses might not want or need the full capabilities of a typical enterprise network system with all of the expensive hardware and management overheads.

Smart network solutions designed specifically for small businesses self-optimize, reducing congestion, and ensuring that workers who need the bandwidth get it. They can also help track user productivity and provide analytics to help grow the business by monitoring customer behavior.

To protect the business network, intelligent, adaptive systems can also provide separate guest networks for visitors and customers to connect to. These separate networks effectively limit access to any business-critical devices or services. And, just in case a local hacker does fancy trying to breach your network from the coffee shop across the road, smart network solutions protect against unauthorized efforts to borrow your connection, wardriving, WiFi sniffing, and other activities that can breach insecure networks.

The solution for CSPs

The landscape has changed dramatically for CSPs in the last year – customer demands have shifted, and speed is no longer the sole requirement. To deliver the level of service customers now expect, CSPs need to negotiate a number of challenges, from indifferent attitudes to security concerns within businesses to reliance on residential routers and poor business-wide network connections.

By partnering with services like Plume, CSPs can ensure even small businesses obtain enterprise-grade security. With AI-based and automated security systems, crucial business data can be protected, potential threats can be blocked at the source, and access to unverified devices can be limited, ensuring constant high-level security as cyberattacks continue to evolve worldwide and hackers widen their range of targets.

Through adaptive, cloud-based WiFi, CSPs can also move beyond merely providing strong signal strength and instead ensure every corner of a business is provided with consistent, adaptive, and reliable connectivity, fueled by smart networks tailored for their specific size and business requirements. And with 24/7 IT support and out-of-the-box troubleshooting, network issues can become a thing of the past, which, when combined with staff management and productivity tools, can help businesses claim back lost productivity.

Further reading:

Plume

The world’s first SaaS experience platform for Communications Service Providers.

https://www.plume.com/

Plume® is the creator of the world's first SaaS experience platform for Communications Service Providers (CSPs) and their subscribers, deployed in more than 30 million locations globally. As the only open and hardware-independent, cloud-controlled solution, Plume enables the rapid delivery of new services for smart homes, small businesses, and beyond at massive scale. On the front end, Plume delivers self-optimizing WiFi, cyber-security, access and parental controls, and more. CSPs get robust data- and AI-driven back-end applications for unprecedented visibility, insights, support, operations, and marketing. Plume leverages OpenSync™, an open-source framework that comes pre-integrated and supported on the leading silicon, CPE, and platform SDKs.

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