Small businesses have different needs and goals than large enterprises and their technology infrastructure should be designed specifically to meet those needs. Here are a few things small business should keep in mind as they work with their technology provider to plan and deploy a small business network.

Where will the network services be hosted?

The two options for small businesses are typically hosting locally or in the cloud. The cloud might be a better fit for small organizations for several reasons. Cloud providers are responsible for configuring, maintaining, backing up and security issues associated with the networks they host. With a reputable cloud provider, small businesses don’t need to hire dedicated IT staff to take care of those things. Hosted services can save small businesses from having to make a large investment in server hardware and software. Instead, you pay a monthly flat fee.

Creative cost controls

Small businesses are typically on fairly tight budgets. Capital expenditures for hardware and software are usually very limited. Your IT partner can often find ways to control costs by using virtualization technology or using alternative operating systems and hardware.

Think ahead about support

Most small businesses cannot afford to have dedicated IT staff on hand to deal with issues as they arise. Your business should have a plan in place for how to deal with network issues when they occur. It isn’t a bad idea to have some type of help desk agreement with your IT services provider. Many IT providers have 24×7 help desks for server emergencies. Perhaps all you need is a standard help desk agreement that covers your network during business hours. The point is that being proactive about having a support agreement in place will save you time, money and headaches when problems do occur.

Plan for the future

Design a network that allows for growth. Think ahead to where you want your business to be and  plan a network that can handle future growth as well as meet your current needs. This will save you from paying for a more expensive migration down the road.

Backup, backup, backup

Plan for backup. This is not optional. Discuss your backup needs with your IT provider while you are designing your network. Your IT partner can develop a backup strategy that fits with your business’ processes. You can’t afford to lose data. Include a backup and disaster recovery strategy as part of the network planning process.

Get Educated

Join ACE IT Solutions for a Cloud 101 Lunch & Learn: Learn How Your Business Can Benefit From Cloud Technology
ACE IT Solutions Cloud 101 Lunch & Learn will be held on July 27, 2011 from 12 pm – 2 pm. It is open to all SMBs and it is free. For more details and registration, visit Cloud 101 Lunch & Learn.

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