Corporate Internet Services

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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As few as seven or eight years ago, Internet connectivity in the marketplace was a possibility but not a sure thing. Today, however, trying to do business without it is decidedly a tall order. Technology has galloped past those first connection speeds based on 14.4, 28.8, 33.6, and 56K baud modems that held us for a solid decade. After that came ISDN and corporate T1 lines. Today, network service providers are offering DSL, T1, T3, FracT3, Frame Relay, or perhaps OC3 and telco circuit. Broadband is here to stay.

Take the Northern Neck of Virginia, a quiet and rural stretch of lowlands along the Chesapeake Bay with a historic and rural character. The region's broadband connectivity initiative is targeted not only at businesses but the population at large--general access Internet. With that as a benchmark, it's fair to say that corporate Internet is a given. And now we're looking at wireless network connectivity fast becoming the norm.

No Company is a Castle

Among the wide range of Internet service options that we take for granted are online billing and payment, and not just for purchases, but for vendors and financial institutions as well, for example. General information flow, whether intranet or public media or business-to-business, is conducted along the new channels as well as the traditional. The operative phrase is "as well as." Just as the radio far from disappeared with the advent of television in the 1940s, legal and financial proceedings (to name just two) will for obvious reasons doubtless remain for some time in their traditional hard copy formats.

With these possibilities, of course, services such as email security, data backup and recovery, and network management become even more critical. Just five years ago the notion of an IPO for an email services vendor might have seemed laughable unless the service was a sideline to something else. Today, however, between firms such as IronPort, Postini, Verisign, and the like, and given the scourge of email-borne network and computer viruses and worms, we expect it.

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