Prior to technology becoming a daily part of life and commerce, business owners didn’t need to think about a network to support their operations. However, modern organizations almost always utilize computers and internet-reliant pieces of technology daily. Many are even operating 100% remote, meaning all hiring, onboarding, training, and job functions are performed in a digital space. Therefore, part of setting up a business is determining and implementing an IT network and everything needed to operate effectively and efficiently. Depending on the business’ size, industry, and many other factors, that network can and does look completely different from business to business. However, the basic process for developing a business’ IT network remains the same.
Needs Vs. Wants
The first step in creating an IT network that meets your business needs is to figure out what those needs are. For example, how many employee workstations do you need? What storage capacity does the organization require? Will employees need devices and network access for working remotely? Once those needs are all laid out it will be easier to understand device and connection requirements to build the network.
Obviously, for businesses hoping to grow, the list of wants far exceeds what is needed at this time. While it’s critical to design a network that works for you now, thinking about scalability is also helpful. Identify wants as well as needs, ensuring there is a path to get there as the organization grows.
Just next to identifying needs in an IT network is outlining the budget available to implement that network. Of course, business owners want their organization to function as seamlessly as possible, and a robust network helps to make that happen. However, most organizations don’t have unlimited funding to support an overly-ambitious IT network. Define your budget early in the process to ensure you find solutions that fall within that. Then you can purchase equipment, install network components, and plan for maintenance. It’s important to remember that a budget should be allocated for ongoing maintenance of the network and any upgrades needed or issues that arise and need attention.
With the number of cybersecurity threats (like spyware and ransomware) that exist today, companies can’t forget to factor in security in their implementation of an IT network. The stability and success of an IT network are dependent on its ability to remain secure and defend itself against cyber threats in the future. Small businesses are often victims of these threats. So, while creating a secure network takes an investment of both time and funding, it also protects it against malicious attacks from outsiders. Many businesses utilize a firewall to protect their network and devices connected to it from hackers in addition to other security measures.
Personnel and Training
In most cases, a company’s IT network is accessed by many if not all individuals employed there. Depending on the role and need for technology or mobile communication, the extent to which they use the network varies. Still, when setting up that network, it’s important to factor in the training and personnel needed to properly train the rest of the organization on its use. Depending on what the budget allows, this may mean building out a dedicated in-house IT team or securing outsourced support and training. Ensuring employees are well-trained on the network (and their devices) is just one part of it. Staff also needs training on how to identify and defend against malicious cyber schemes. This greatly reduces the chance of an attack significantly impacting the business.
Ongoing Maintenance and Upgrades
Establishing an effective business IT network sets the organization up for success from the start. However, when it comes to IT, businesses can’t forget about it once business commences. In fact, when developing and setting up the network, an important consideration is any required and recommended maintenance for all hardware and software as well as network connections. Devices and the programs that run on them often require frequent updates as well as preventive measures to ensure they don’t become vulnerable to a cyber attack.
Should a Business Set Up its IT Network In-House?
For those without a background in IT and networking experience, setting up a business IT network in-house will be very challenging. In modern times, your network is essentially the backbone of the business. The majority of communication, file and information sharing, and storage will likely occur virtually. Without strong IT expertise in-house, opt for partnering with a local team of IT experts as you create and implement an IT network.
At Kustura Technologies, we design, install, support, and optimize networks for individuals and businesses. This means we are there not only as you get a network established, but also a phone call away when network issues arise or updates are required. Much of the maintenance aspect of our network services happens behind the scenes, leaving business owners to focus on growing their organization, not solving IT issues.
For those business owners that already have a network in place but aren’t sure it is optimized for their needs, Kustura also offers network assessments. These audits identify strengths within your IT network but also opportunities to improve factors such as security or efficiency. Many times, we identify vulnerabilities and prevent network issues before they have a chance to occur. If you are looking for peace of mind when it comes to setting up or maintaining your business IT network, we encourage you to reach out to learn more about networking services from Kustura. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!