IT networks are a business’s nervous system. Having one that's designed well guarantees your business won’t drop its internet connection, slow down employee work, or corrupt data during a file transfer. It’s that your IT network performs optimally under stress without compromising information security.
To realize those goals, you must consider the following factors when building your IT network:
Before doing anything else, clarify your organization’s IT network goals. These goals may depend on the industry your business operates in, the nature of your operations, and your location.
Some network goals you may want to consider are near 100% uptime for client-facing resources, a data management system that automates audit requests to reduce turnaround times, or an intranet for facilitating secure remote working conditions.
Knowing your IT goals will ensure your ideal setup is attainable and profitable. This is the first step toward strategizing for your future and reverse engineering how to get there. Don’t be afraid to think big, the network you want today may be a second-tier option five years from now.
Even though network hardware is cheaper than ever, small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) will always face financial hurdles when it comes to setup and maintenance. The worst thing you can do is cut corners and create avoidable problems. Create a budget for your network project but make sure it has some leeway for unforeseen hiccups.
Once you know the highest possible amount of money that you can spend on building your IT network, you can begin the procurement process. Vet all hardware and software options based on the aspirations and limitations of your network goals and budget. The best thing you can do is choose products that meet your current requirements without hitting a ceiling as you grow.
Even if “scalable” has become 21st-century business jargon, it's something you have to plan for. Having too much capacity is a waste of money while too little could hurt sales or customer retention. Whenever possible, choose pay-for-what-you-use solutions and platforms. When you don’t have those options, consider consulting with a managed services provider (MSP) about which option makes the most sense.
Working with an MSP is a great way to access experienced advice and consulting on a budget. What’s more, managed services often bundle offsite storage and cloud-based data systems, leaving you with less hardware to acquire and less software to manage. That’s more computing power for less expense.
Lastly, always remember that assets need maintenance. This holds true for your entire property, plant, and equipment (PPE) account, and it also holds true for any IT infrastructure you buy. Servers require cooling and cleanup, computer components need periodic repairs and/or replacements, and software needs updates and upgrades. These will cost money (not to mention manpower) so always make sure you allocate enough of your budget towards these future expenses.
Understandably, this isn’t an ideal scenario for all companies. Fortunately, most MSPs provide these services bundled into their subscription plans, so if your business decides to hire experts to design and build your IT network, then you should be covered. Just make sure that your IT partner includes these details in your service-level agreement (SLA) and you should be all set.
A finely-tuned IT network can be the difference between business success and failure. At Midwest Data, we leave no stone unturned when it comes to IT. Download our free eBook today to learn more about our services.