If you are the owner of a Bay Area small business who likes, upon occasion, to go to the movies, you can be forgiven for thinking big picture when assessing damage threats to your business. In the last few years we’ve been attacked by Godzillas, interdimensional Godzillas, improbable tsunamis, and particularly smart apes. Admittedly, none of those would be particularly good for business, but none seem terribly likely. There are a lot of smaller, but no less disastrous things that can happen to your business, and it starts with your network.
Network is the beating heart of the 21st-century business model. It is how businesses stays connected with each other and with their employees. They enable flexibility and communication throughout the system, from supply to sales to management. Whether you are building something out of your garage with five employees or have a new office with dozens, your small business network needs to be safe, secure, and reliable. Here are a few tips for designing the right one.
Decide In-House or Cloud?
Putting things “in the cloud” is very popular, and for good reason. A quality cloud-hosted experience can allow for great data storage and accessibility. However, it might not be right for your small business. A small business can rely on their own network, with in-house servers that aren’t dependent on a distant cloud-based hosting company. The benefits here are cost, internal control, and security.
Cost is important. At first, cloud computing seems to win there, because there isn’t an initial outlay in server and setup expenses. However, you do pay a monthly fee, and over a short time, that monthly fee could quickly add up to more than the initial costs. There’s also the matter of cost control: your cloud hosting company can easily raise their fees, costing you more money every month, or forcing you to go through the process of finding a new server and safely transferring your data.
The cost of an internal network can be lowered by working with a company like ClickAway, where network installation can be done inexpensively and expertly. This includes router setup and configuration, workstation setup and configuration, and switches setup and configuration. The best part about working with a great partner who specializes in small businesses is that they understand your needs, and know not just where you are, but where you need to go. This becomes important when it comes to planning for growth.
Plan Your Network To Allow For Growth
There are a couple of bad ways to anticipate growth. One is to use your small business loan to buy a yacht, assuming you’ll be able to pay it back real soon. Another is to rent a huge office when you have five employees because you think it is important to have regular floor hockey breaks. Anticipating that your business is going to grow, though, is at the heart of your dreams and visions, and there are smart ways to make sure that any growth is seamless.
This begins with your server. When designing your server, make sure that it is able to be upgraded quickly and easily, without losing any time or data. The experts at ClickAway are excited to help small businesses grow, and our server upgrade plans are affordable and seamless. What’s more important than that is the design phase. During the design, you want to have an open-ended plan that allows for extended cabling when new employees come in, so that they can quickly plug into the server without stressing the system with having to set up some kind of bizarre Escherian wiring system. When bringing on new hires, you want the employees to hit the ground running, not get tripped up on a rattrap of cords.
Security and Backup
Let’s talk about disasters. While smart apes aren’t likely, something going wrong with your server is a possibility. Anything from a power surge caused by a lightning strike to an employee spilling a soda on it can throw off your business, unless you are protected. There are three main aspects of being secure.
- Maintenance. Network and computer maintenance is important to see if there are any potential problems, from frayed cords to viruses. An ounce of prevention is worth way more than a pound of cure. Maintenance is checking each computer on the network to make sure it is virus-free, has spyware working, is updated, regulated, and not loaded with bloatware. These are the little things that can damage a network, and regular maintenance can prevent that.
- Security. Security is incredibly important for any business. If you are on a computer, you are a potential victim of a hacker. Just opening a wrong email can send your network into chaos. Network security starts with employee education and goes up to detecting and destroying malware.
- Backup. If something goes wrong, despite all precautions, you want your network backed up so that you can immediately get your vital information back online. A few days down- even a few hours- can do untold damage to your profit margins. Being backed up with an easily-accessible plan is not overly precautious or paranoid. It is necessary.
In all the disaster movies, the final lesson is that if we work together, we can overcome even the greatest odds. You’ve already gone a long way toward beating the odds with your vision, ingenuity, and solid business plan. Don’t let small business network issues ruin your dreams. Partner with ClickAway business solutions to solve the network, so that all you have to worry about is what you do best.