Every business, no matter its size or industry, needs to have a proper IT infrastructure in order to compete in the modern business landscape. However, most business owners never think about their computer network until something catastrophic happens. When that happens, you lose time, productivity, and money.
So, how can you avoid this potential disaster and build a robust computer network solution for your business?
Here are 10 tips to guide you:
1. Understand Your Business Needs Upfront
Your computer network is the backbone that connects everything in your office. Your success or failure will largely depend on the performance and reliability of your network. Knowing what you need is half the battle when designing and setting up your system.
Think about things like future growth and scalability. For example, do you need high security for sensitive data or even reliable video conferencing? If you’re not sure, you might want to consult with IT professionals who can help you identify and address potential issues.
2. Choose the Right Equipment
Do your research and make sure you choose reliable equipment that is compatible with the rest of your network. You have lots of choices for equipment, and you want to ensure you’re organized and know what you need (and don’t need) before purchasing anything.
You might also need to think about whether you want to utilize a “cloud” solution or have everything on servers locally – or a hybrid setup. Once you’ve chosen your equipment, make sure everything is organized so that the system is easy to troubleshoot if you have issues.
3. Ensure Proper Network Security
Network security is critical in 2022. No matter its size, any business is at risk for cyberattacks or hacking. Don’t think it can’t happen to you. During the second quarter of 2022 alone, the world saw approximately 52 million data breaches.
Well-protected networks have the following qualities:
· Strong passwords (12-16 characters in length)
· Regularly updated security software
· Anti-virus software
These are just a few things to look for when building your computer network services. If this seems like a lot to remember, consider consulting with an IT professional who can assess your security needs and make an expert recommendation.
4. Create a Disaster Recovery
Despite all your preparation, disaster will most likely strike your network at some time. When that happens, you need to be prepared. Data protection and backup systems are your insurance policies against a network outage, human error, or attacks from the web.
There are a few things you need to think about when creating your disaster recovery systems:
· Back up your data on a regular basis.
· Create a plan for how employees can work and access information in case the network is shut down.
· Make sure your data is not only backed up but that it’s backed up locally and offsite also.
· Ensure that your data is encrypted at rest and when it’s transmitted.
Working with an expert will ensure a potential meltdown is little more than a minor nuisance.
5. Implement Network Access Control
Businesses need to decide who needs access to what information. Not everyone needs to have permission or access to everything. When creating customized computer network solutions, you need to decide how to set this up. This includes making sure everyone has the correct access and strong passwords in place. For added security, it’s recommended that multi-factor authentication is used.
Don’t let your guard down. Even with all these plans in place, it’s important to review and update your access controls regularly.
6. Regularly Monitor and Test the Network
Network monitoring software is utilized to detect and address potential issues. This includes security flaws, phishing attempts, or anything out of the ordinary within your computer network services.
To improve efficiency and ensure things are functioning properly, you should regularly perform speed and connectivity tests. If you aren’t sure how to do this, a professional IT expert can come in and test all the functions of your network. They will provide you with a detailed report on how your systems are running and if something needs to be corrected or upgraded.
7. Utilize Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for Remote Connections
In 2022, over 4.7 million people work remotely for at least half of their week. If you have employees working at least part of their time at home, you’ll want to have a robust VPN system. VPNs help provide secure connections for remote employees.
Just like your network, you want to make sure you regularly update the VPN software to ensure security and effectiveness for your employees. You also want to consider the number of devices that are connected to the VPN. This is important when choosing a plan, so your VPN doesn’t slow down if everyone is connected at the same time.
8. Train Employees on Best Practices for Network Usage
Did you know roughly 82% of all data breaches involve a human element? This includes incidents where an employee exposed information directly or by mistake to potential cybercriminals.
You might have the best computer network services that money can buy, but if you don’t train your employees, you’ve already lost the battle. You need to provide employees with clear practices regarding the following:
· Password protection
· Avoiding suspicious emails or links
· Ensure they’re reporting potential issues
9. Stay Up to Date with Technology Trends and Updates
Technology is constantly evolving, and you need to keep yourself and your network updated. Your computer network services will need to be upgraded regularly to keep up with security threats or features that can improve the efficiency of your employees.
It’s a good idea to start subscribing to industry newsletters to get up-to-date information. You can even subscribe to technology blogs to stay informed on the latest news and updates.
If you ever feel overwhelmed by all the information available, you’re not alone. An IT professional can help sort through the noise and provide you with recommendations based on your network and your company’s needs.
10. Consider Outsourcing IT Services
IT professionals can provide you and your business with valuable insight and assistance in building and maintaining a strong, secure, and efficient computer network. If you’re struggling
with your network or just want someone to take the weight of the computer network off your shoulders, then using a managed IT service is a good solution.
A managed IT service provider can help you with day-to-day support and guidance so you can concentrate on the other operations of your business. This also ensures that your resources are focused on your business’s productivity and not on your network.
Building a robust computer network for your business can be daunting and a lot of work. There is a lot to think about and some highly technical decisions to be made. This article barely scratches the surface of what to consider to keep your network safe, secure, and running efficiently.
If you’re wondering about your network performing like it should for your business, think about contacting a professional IT service. They can work hand-in-hand with you to create customized computer network solutions to keep your company safe – so you can concentrate on running your business.
Brian Kozlosky, President/Founder of 2 Krew Security and Surveillance – headquartered in Kittanning, PA. With a Bachelor of Science from Slippery Rock University, I have 15+ years of experience operating a successful security and surveillance company. You can get in touch with me on LinkedIn.