Is latency the hidden threat to your business?


No matter what industry or sector you operate in, your ability to send and receive information in your IT infrastructure is often critical to success.

This is certainly the case if your core product is a customer-facing application, but it also matters in a variety of other contexts as well.

You may already know the importance of factors such as SEO, cybersecurity, and cloud computing for modern business success, but what about latency? Many business owners might not have even heard of network latency, despite the fact that it could be costing them a fortune. Here’s what you need to know about network latency, and why it represents a significant hidden cost to your business.

What is Latency?

First off, let’s break down what is actually meant by the term network latency. In a nutshell, latency describes the amount of time it takes for information to travel between connected devices within a network.

The higher your latency, the slower this system of communication actually is. At the most basic level, an example of latency would be when you type a URL into your browser and it takes a couple of seconds for the page to load. These couple of seconds represent the time it takes for the request to be received and processed and can thus be described as network latency.

Latency is different from bandwidth, as bandwidth describes the maximum potential amount of data that can be transferred in a system, while latency describes the speed at which that data can be transferred.

How is Latency Affecting My Business?

Now that we know what latency is, let’s break down why it is important for your business to understand and counter. A certain degree of latency is unavoidable in all systems, but too much latency can be expensive, unproductive, and reputationally damaging. Here are some of the ways that latency can impact your business.

  • Slow website loading times can drive leads away from your business website.
  • Latency can result in expensive and error-inducing delays in payment processing.
  • Latency can cause severe delays when making VOIP calls.
  • Latency can cause a total ‘packet loss’ between the receiver and the sender, meaning certain actions such as a card payment or a Zoom call will simply be cut-off.

These are just a handful of the ways in which network latency can be damaging for your company.

How Can I Reduce Network Latency?

Fortunately, there are many ways that you can reduce network latency and improve speeds, without having to hire an expensive IT technician. These include:

  • Optimise your Kubernetes performance by increasing pod affinity and enhancing your cloud architecture.
  • Ask your web host about cache-control configuration, as this can greatly improve load speeds.
  • Switch to fibre broadband if you have not done so already.
  • Make sure all of your business software and business hardware are kept up-to-date and encourage best practices in this area among your employees.

As you can see, although latency represents a serious cost to your business, its worst impacts can be easily mitigated. Follow these steps today to reduce network latency and get your system up to speed.