Small businesses are in many ways the foundation of our economy. Often born out of entrepreneurial spirit, these businesses are no strangers to having to figure things out for themselves. Dealing with limited budgets and revenue, many small businesses have thrived in the face of adversity by finding creative solutions to business problems and getting more done with less. As a result, many burgeoning small businesses find their IT infrastructure requirements quickly out-scaling their dedicated, but limited capabilities. This is particularly true for small businesses that do not have their own dedicated on-site IT staff. A small business network setup checklist can greatly benefit businesses in their IT needs.
For these businesses, outsourcing IT needs to managed service providers can be a cost-effective way of ensuring the highest level of capability and continuity. To get the most out of their managed services, small businesses need to have a comprehensive understanding of how their IT infrastructure supports their larger business goals. To get started, review this quick small business network setup checklist of items to be considered.
The Right IT Infrastructure
In a market where the latest, improved product is released each quarter, many small businesses have already invested in a variety of top-of-the-line equipment. Often, though, they may not have considered how the new technology will fit into the IT infrastructure. When this happens, the IT infrastructure cannot operate optimally; applications may not be communicating with each other as they should, redundant processes could be wasting time and resources and this could be opening the door to an entire host of other problems.
As each problem is introduced, the infrastructure becomes more and more complicated – causing more problems to arise even faster and making each problem that much harder to solve. To help avoid this scenario, it is important to plan how each component of the network will function ahead of time.
To do this, small businesses should ask themselves:
- Do we have the necessary expertise in-house or should we consider managed services?
- Are my network devices compatible with each other?
- Do we have all necessary warranty and service contracts active and updated?
- Are we using a standardized Operating System to streamline management and troubleshooting?
- Are we up to date with the latest drivers and patches?
Hardware and Software
Software assets are an important part of your organization’s network, providing a variety of critical functions. It is easy for businesses to fall into a “set it and forget it” habit, where they just assume the software is still functioning as intended unless a problem arises. If using this approach, it can be easy to overlook vital considerations such as patch management, service contract scope and renewal and continuing developer support.
Setting a standard procedure for how to manage hardware and software components, including how those assets are purchased, managed, licensed, renewed and updated can avoid those problems. There should be clearly documented chains of responsibility and all maintenance, incident, troubleshooting, and update actions should be thoroughly documented so they can be easily and quickly referenced in the future.
Some hardware and software considerations small businesses should ask themselves include:
- Has our software been optimized to fit our business use case?
- What permissions do users have?
- How are mobile or BYOD devices managed?
- What email and collaboration software are we using?
- What content management software are we using?
- What web applications are we managing?
- What network security and anti-virus programs are present and how are they managed?
- How many Ethernet switches do we have? Are they scalable with our endpoint requirements?
- What are our current and expected performance benchmarks?
Scaling With the Cloud
The introduction of cloud technology, applications and services has been a game changer for businesses, allowing them to function with greater efficiency and scalability. However, for all the benefits the cloud offers, it also presents its own unique challenges and considerations. Before moving a business function to the cloud, organizations need to ensure that the function will perform according to all set availability and security requirements.
Some questions small businesses should ask themselves when moving to the cloud include:
- Are we meeting all compliance and data privacy requirements?
- What are the details of our Service Level Agreements (e.g., do we have specified response times, continuity guarantees and backup or recovery features?)
- Who is managing and updating our cloud servers, services and/or applications?
- What are my data permissions and access restrictions?
Reach out to the Experts at TCB Inc. Today!
TCB has network installation and integration technicians based in Virginia, Maryland and DC that are highly qualified in installation, testing, and turn-up of various types of wireless and fiber network equipment. Our established network installation methods will have a local and/or wide area network up and running for you in no time. From communications infrastructures to your workstations, we can install and integrate any configuration you need. If you’re on the hunt for a small business network setup checklist, make sure to reach out today! Our team of experienced IT workers are here to help you.
Ensure stability with one of our IT support plans and Managed IT Services, so that the technicians who built your network can continue to maintain it. At TCB our standards are speed, efficiency and reliability for every installation and for those businesses interested in post-installation maintenance.