These days nearly every function of a business is underpinned by IT systems. This makes selecting your small business network setup a vital decision that can greatly affect your success. In this article we will explore the 7 key components you must consider before investing in your IT setup.
The first thing you will want to do is to purchase your internet connection. It’s important to research this area thoroughly in order to make the best decision. You will likely need a reliable connection, so it’s important to think about how having no internet would effect your business. If you cannot possibly live with any downtime then it’s best to seek out a pure business connection that comes with agreed SLA’s with your provider rather than a standard residential connection.
In the event of your connection going down, it’s important to have a backup plan that allows you to switch to a broadband card or even your mobile/cell 4G data connection so you can keep the business running until the main connection is back up and running.
The router that is provided by your Internet Service Provider will also give you a wireless network, but its important to think about the number of wireless devices you will likely have on the network and plan to add in future expansions. If you are likely having upwards of 10 devices on the wireless network, you may find the standard router is slow and struggles to cope with the amount of traffic. In this case you should seek out a dedicated wireless controller and various access points.
Another key in your small business network setup that you will need to consider is what hardware is required. Will all employees need access to a computer? Can they share? Will you run a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) scheme? If you want to look into BYOD then think about how you will secure everything and give employees access to the systems you require when everyone is using a different kind of device. You can learn more about BYOD on our website.
Do you need the flexibility that laptops give you, or is there the dedicated space for desktops? Think about what they will be used for, if its just for accessing emails and word processing then there is no need to purchase the new, shiny, top of the range Apple Mac, when you can save that money, and purchase a more basic Windows machine or an even cheaper Chromebook.
Server & Storage
A server provides a single, high powered machine to centralize your data within your office. Everyone connects to the server through their desktop PC or laptop and it means you only need to update applications and carry out backups from a single location. The problem being, they require a heavy investment to begin with, and require quite a bit of technical expertise to get started.
You can decide on whether to keep an on-site server to store data and provide security and access to documents, or you can look at cloud servers and moving everything off-site. This has the advantage of being backed up securely off-site but at the same time, if your internet connection goes down, you have no access. Cloud servers are easily upgraded for future expansion and there is no large initial outlay on the server hardware. Utilizing cloud servers in your small business network setup is a great way to synchronize your data across multiple locations and you can learn more on our website.
Software & Communication
Your small business network setup will also likely include several software programs as well. When deciding on the software your business will require, think whether the accessibility benefits of using SaaS products over the internet outweighs the features that are available on full desktop versions of the software.
You will need to decide on an email provider, collaboration tools and communication tools and these can often be provided in one package for example via Microsoft Office 365 or Google’s G Suite
You can create the perfect small business network setup that is robust and performs to a high level but if it’s only accessible in the office during office hours, it limits you, especially in today’s work-whenever-wherever society.
Therefore, think about a remote access solution or hosting your applications in the cloud so they can be accessed from home or on the road, allowing you and your staff to be more productive and offer a better service.
By its very nature, technology often goes wrong, and when that happens it can severely affect your business. It’s important to make sure everything you purchase is backed with a good support team that can get you back up and running as soon as possible.
You may also want to look at a local company that can provide advice and support in the event of a disaster; being local they will be able to visit the site if there is no internet connection making remote support redundant.
Security / Backup
What do you do if the worst happens, if the office is flooded or hit by a fire. You need to make sure you have a plan in place so that you can get the vital systems up and running as soon as possible to ensure minimal impact on your business.
You must make sure you have anti-virus protection, that your data is backed up off-site and that you have a plan to get back online. You must also make sure you test this plan to make sure it works, there is no point having all these backups, but when you come to restore some data you find that the system doesn’t work, so test at least once or twice a year and amend the plan if necessary.
How Can MyQuickCloud Help
Here at MyQuickCloud we are able to provide a number of solutions your small business network setup issues. From providing a cloud server to host all your applications, store your data and provide a backup solution. If you have chosen to keep all your systems and data onsite we can provide the secure, remote access to make them accessible from anywhere and from any device. And both of these can be done without any technical expertise.
The SmallBizRising Blog is designed to be an educational content hub pulling information, best practices and practical advice for the small business owner and features topics including accounting, marketing, technology and more. Be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with new content as it is posted. The blog was created by The Neat Company and receives contributed content from a group of contributing companies that provide technology, services and solutions to small businesses.