Keeping all the data for your business flowing is the job of networking solutions. Before you plunge into buying adapters, bridges, network interface cards, repeaters, routers, and switches, you should consider several factors, including the type of business you’re in, the size of your business, the networking needs of your business, and your budget.
- First, how data-intensive is your business? Do you just need to store and share information about customers, invoices, and accounts? Or are you managing so much data that you’re using database software to organize it all? An art gallery or a mom-and-pop store would generally have simple networking needs. A bank or an insurance agency needs more complex networking infrastructure. A multinational corporation likely has a network that calls for an I.T. department to maintain it. Choose the appropriate networking solution for your type of business.
- Size does matter. A small business, with a dozen or fewer employees, could probably get by with a single wireless router, for sharing among various PCs and connecting to the Internet. A rapidly growing business needs to keep scalability of its network in mind, expanding and extending the network as the business grows. A big company, with offices across the country and overseas, will likely need a big-time network, with all sorts of specialized equipment.
- Business needs are another important consideration. As your business grows and you find yourself supporting more PCs, mobile devices, and even cloud computing, finding the justification for that expanding infrastructure is key. Does each employee need to have a PC? If you’re in retail, do you need point-of-sale terminals?
- Watch your budget. For small and medium-sized businesses that need to watch their spending, keeping to a budget for networking solutions is a good idea. It’s easy to get caught up with and impressed by modern networking technology. The business owner still must ask: Do I need this now? Is it better to wait on buying (or leasing) this networking equipment?
- There are many technical issues involved in implementing networking solutions. Server optimization and integration is a good way to manage costs. Network security is also important; you don’t want people hacking into your network and making off with confidential information or accessing your bank accounts. You may need to select a storage area network or network-attached storage as your data storage needs grow larger.
Don’t be afraid to seek help from I.T. professionals on gauging what kind of networking solutions are best for your business. Consulting with someone who has experience in installing and maintaining networks could provide you with the appropriate solutions for your business.