ADSL offers many opportunities to improve business efficiency and cut costs. Companies everywhere, given the current economic outlook, are looking for ways to save money either by cutting costs, without having to give up any services on which they rely, or by getting more out of existing resources. One way to get more out of what you already have is to better exploit the possibilities that your ADSL connections offers. Here is a list of the top 5 things that we recommend to our ADSL customers:1. ADSL – VPN Remote Access to the officeMany businesses would like to enable their staff to access servers,mail or files at the office when they are at clients or at home. If you run your own business you are probably familiar with the feeling when you are working at home, on the weekend or after hours, and you remember you forgot some files/mail at the office that you need?Well even with the cheapest ADSL line you can setup a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a secure tunnel that allows the user to access the remote network as if they were on the local lan. Of course the number of simultaneous user the line can support depends on the line speed but luckily for us there is a wide range of ADSL options to support this. Even for large medium sized corporates there is the bonded ADSL option. Part of the VPN solutions is that your remote staff will need mobile internet access. The best option for this 3G or HSDPA.The benefits of remote access incude happier staff since they dont have to travel to the office to access mail etc. More efficient use of time and of course better service to customers when the sales rep can get the latest price list within seconds.2. Inter Branch Connections with ADSLIf you have two or more branches you probably have some application hosted at head office that branches need to access on a regular basis, Pastel, VIP and other popular applications are common. When looking for applications solutions to support business with branches many small businesses try and rely on some kind of disconnected solution that allows merging of databases and records on a periodic basis. As anyone who does this knows this is never an easy process as the application vendors make out and you end up wasting a lot of time and money sorting out conflicts, corruption and lost data. The solution we offer is to setup a inter-branch Virtual Private Network (VPN). With an inter-branch VPN users at the remote branch can access and run application that are located at head office. We often suggest using Microsoft’s Remote Desktop in combination with the ADSL VPN to get the most out of the ADSL lines uplink speed without having to use a larger ADSL pipe.3. Cut telephone costs with VOIPVoice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) with ADSL is another great way to save costs. If you are a micro business then a single ADSL line is all you need to be able to use voip and access the Internet. If you are a larger business then you will need a dedicated ADSL connection for your VOIP calls. Whats great though is that you can make use of a cheap local only, unshaped, ADSL account.With the wide range of ADSL offerings out there and the corporate ADSL solution it is possible to run call centres off of VOIP trunks. What is great as well is that VOIP can be added to an existing PBX or if you need a whole new PBX then a complete PBX VOIP solution can be provided to you. Even if you are a larger sized business but don’t want to use VOIP on your main switchboard it can be used to connect branches to head office. Since VOIP on VOIP calls are free you can eliminate the cost of inter-branch calls completely!With VOIP you don’t have to change your company’s numbers. You can keep you existing telkom lines to for incoming calls and just route outgoing over VOIP. Least cost routing is done at the VOIP providers premises so you also get to take advantage of routing calls over the cheapest connection without the outlay of cash for expensive routing equipment.4. Host your own servers over ADSL securelyAnother common scenario is when the boss or director is overseas and wants to access his mail. Usually this is a problem. Even with a VPN it can be a bit of an issue as often the executive does not have access to his normal laptop, with the VPN configuration, but just the hotel’s computer or some kind of Internet cafe or suppliers/customers computer. In this case it is best to expose your email servers web interface over the Internet, then as long as the user has access to the net he or she can get their mails. We suggest using one of our uncapped ADSL solutions, such as the 512Kb uncapped ADSL, or the 1Mbps uncapped ADSL option for this as you get 5 fixed IP which make the hosting of application a lot easier5. Do your shopping and banking onlineAlthough this might seem lame it is surprising how many people still do not use the Internet to do banking and shopping online. With the cost of petrol these days, horrendous traffic jams and lack of parking at the mall it is much better to shop online without raising your blood pressure. The weekend should be used to relax not fight for parking and wait in queues at the till.Besides the convenience factor you can also save money as online shopping is often cheaper and you can make choices without being distracted by all those marketing gimmicks that retailers use to make you buy that magazine or chocolate on your way out which you don’t really need.Exploit your ADSL connectionI hope this article has provided you with some ideas on how to use your ADSL connection to enhance your business’s competitiveness. Sometime we just have to work smarter, not harder.