From the internet, to mobile reception, to "smart" hardware and software, technology has significantly changed the day-to-day operations of businesses. That technology has also placed new demands on the world of commercial real estate. Landlords and property managers must ensure that their buildings are wired to for the digital connectivity needs of today's high-tech tenants.
Connectivity enables tenants to do their jobs according to increasingly strict productivity standards. Buildings with sub-par connectivity often struggle to remain viable in an increasingly competitive commercial real estate market. If you own or manage a commercial property, it is important that you understand what it takes to help your customers remain productive. This article breaks down the four most important elements required for a seamless digital tenant experience.
The infrastructure that makes our modern world possible has grown increasingly complex in recent decades. This is just as true for digital connectivity as it is for traditional utilities like water and electricity. Yet these systems are still often very fragile, such that a single point of failure can effectively cut off all access to a given utility.
Engineers reduce the risk of service outages through redundancy. Redundancy involves setting up multiple service channels. That way, if one channel suffers a failure, the system will be able to continue operating via the secondary — or even tertiary — channel. Redundancies, in other words, amount to a form of insurance against unwanted system failures.
In the case of digital connectivity, redundancy often involves establishing a physically diverse array of primary and backup internet circuits. These backup systems ensure that, even if the main communication pathway suffers an interruption, online connectivity will continue uninterrupted.
The importance of redundancy in modern commercial cannot be overstated, since it ensures that tenants will not suffer costly downtime. According to one estimate based on industry surveys, the cost of network downtime comes out to about $5,600 per minute. As a building owner, it is your responsibility to give tenants peace of mind when it comes to preventing downtime through appropriate redundancy.
Another core component of a well-designed digital connectivity platform is resiliency. Resiliency refers to the ability of a network or data system to continue operations despite any equipment failures or other disruptions that might occur. Resiliency is closely related to redundancy, since redundant physical systems are necessary in order for the system to have resiliency.
Yet not all redundant systems are resilient. For example, a redundant system may consist of multiple fiber optic cables running into a building. These cables provide redundancy, since if one of them fails, the internet connection will continue running through the other. Yet if all of the cables enter the building at a single structural location, the system is not resilient.
In such a scenario, all of the cables could end up being damaged in the event of damage or failure at the entry point. A resilient solution, by contrast, would involve setting up different entry points for each of the redundant fiber optic cables. That way, even if one cable becomes damaged at the entry point, the secondary cables will remain completely unaffected.
The kinds of damage involved in this scenario tend to require much more time- and labor-intensive repairs than simple server outages. If your building does not possess sufficient resiliency, your tenants may find themselves without internet services for weeks, while contractors work to repair damaged cables.
Building owners must also concern themselves with the security of their digital connectivity systems. Poor security measures place tenants at risk of internet outages, cyberattacks, and even physical sabotage. To protect against the last of these, you should install all communications equipment in appropriate secured areas of your building.
Just as important as physical security is network security, which utilizes numerous defensive tactics to prevent those with malicious intent from accessing the system. Network security involves setting up numerous layers of defenses, each of which has its own set of policies and controls. Common components of network security involve all of the following:
- Access control
- Antivirus software
- Behavioral analytics
- Data loss prevention
- Email security
- Network segmentation
- Virtual private networks, of VPNs
- Web and wireless security
More and more companies today rely on cloud-based forms of data storage, making the risk of data theft more dangerous than ever. According to one source, the average data breach in 2020 will cost businesses more than $150 million. For that reason, you must do everything you can to ensure that your tenants remain safe and secure.
When it comes to network speeds, most people are familiar with the concept of bandwidth. Bandwidth refers to the hypothetical amount of data that a network can process per second. The more bandwidth you purchase from your ISP, the faster your internet connection will be — at least in theory.
Yet this mode of thinking overlooks an equally important metric used to monitor network performance: capacity. In fact, many experts now agree that capacity paints a much more accurate picture of a network's performance. And in virtually all cases, the actual capacity of a network falls far below its rated bandwidth.
Capacity takes into account factors that bandwidth leaves out, such as the specifications of the cables running into your building, and the amount of physical distance involved in various network operations. If your building's infrastructure doesn't have enough capacity, then tenants will struggle with delays and sluggish performance no matter how much bandwidth they purchase.
A building's network capacity must be constantly evaluated and improved. As cloud computing grows more and more ubiquitous, tenants require far greater network speeds than in the past. Cables installed only a few years ago may no longer prove effective for an entire building of tech-intensive companies.
Evaluating Your Building
Without properly accounting for redundancy, resiliency, security, and capacity, you risk leaving your tenants without the connectivity they need to remain productive. To learn more about ensuring your asset is properly outfitted with these four elements, contact the experts at WiredScore.