Get Hooked Up: Five Things to Consider When Designing a Network For Your Small Business

Before you start worrying about stocks and bonds, let’s focus on building computer network for your small business. Although it’s not rocket science. But it’s definitely not a job for your uncle’s cousin’s neighbor who “knows computers.” Trust us, that would be a recipe for disaster. Building a computer network is like building a house: you need a solid foundation, quality materials, and someone who knows what they’re doing. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a network that’s about as stable as a Jenga tower on a wobbly table. Here are things to do:

Decide what software to use
Building a computer network for a small business can be quite the daunting task, but the most important thing to consider is the software you choose. After all, what’s a network without software? Just a bunch of fancy cords and blinking lights. You don’t want to spend all that money on hardware just to realize the software you’ve chosen is about as useful as a toaster in a bathtub. So, if you’re a doctor’s office, make sure your software is compatible with medical practices and not veterinary clinics. And if you’re a retail business, make sure your software is compatible with your cash register so you don’t have to go back to counting coins and bills by hand like it’s the 1800s. But don’t worry, if you accidentally choose software that’s completely incompatible with your business, you can always resort to a good ol’ fashioned game of Solitaire to pass the time while you wait for the IT guy to come and save the day.

Design network for users
Building a small business network is like playing a game of Tetris – except instead of fitting colorful blocks into neat rows, you’re trying to fit employees, software, and customer requirements into a cohesive network. And just like in Tetris, if you don’t plan ahead and optimize your moves, you’ll end up with a mess that no one wants to deal with. Designing and optimizing a small business network can be as fun and satisfying as finally fitting that one last piece into the perfect spot.

Design for remote working
It’s 2023, and after over two years of pandemic-induced remote work, small businesses have come to realize that optimizing their networks for remote work is no longer just a luxury, it’s a necessity. As if Zoom calls and endless email chains weren’t enough, now you’ve got to worry about your company’s security too. But hey, no pressure! Just make sure your network can handle all the virtual coffee breaks and happy hours, while keeping your sensitive data safe from virtual intruders. Oh, and don’t forget to stock up on hand sanitizer for all those remote high-fives.

Ensure near-zero downtime
Designing a network with near-zero downtime is like trying to catch a unicorn – it’s elusive and almost mythical. But like a determined unicorn hunter, IT staff can take steps to make it as close to zero as possible. Sure, some downtime is inevitable, but it’s always better to plan for the worst and hope for the best. It’s like having a spare tire in your car, or a backup plan for your weekend date when your potential lover decides they’re not that into you after all. You don’t want to be left stranded on the side of the road or sitting alone in a restaurant. The same applies to your business network. You don’t want your employees twiddling their thumbs during downtime, or worse, posting memes on social media about how the IT guy can’t fix the network.

Optimize for business requirements
Every business has unique needs and requirements, and it’s important to factor those into the planning and design process. It’s like baking a cake without a recipe; you might end up with something that looks like a cake, but it probably won’t taste very good. Your business is no different. You might be able to cobble together a network that looks like it will work, but if you don’t take the time to understand your business’s unique requirements, you’ll end up with a network that doesn’t work very well. It’s the same like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

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