Is your data network supporting your current business demands?
Many companies invested years ago in data networks that met minimum requirements for file storage and retrieval, printer sharing, email and access to the Web. Today, those companies are using the same networks for voice, video and other data-intensive application accessed by growing numbers of users and devices. In many cases, the underlying network infrastructure is not up to the job.
There are a few telltale signs that a network infrastructure needs updating. The most common reasons for replacement are poor performance and an inability to support current services and applications. Escalating support costs associated with aging equipment also point to the need for new gear.
Even with the emergence of cloud-based applications such as office 365 and Salesforce.com, the network is a critical component. Older networks are often the largest performance inhibitors when running applications, both cloud-based and local.
The good news is that there are a number of SMB network solutions available that are cost-effective, reliable, and easy to deploy and manage. There are even cloud-managed solutions that further simplify configuration.
In choosing a solution, look for:
- Bandwidth and speed: With the wealth of information sources available to today’s knowledge workers, there’s little tolerance for slow performance. In addition, speed and bandwidth are required to support time-sensitive applications such as voice and video.
- Fault tolerance: As more applications and services are pushed to the network, the need for a fault-tolerant environment increases. Organizations expect their networks to run 24×7 with little or no interruption in service.
- Security: The network should include easy-to-manage security features, such as a firewall, virtual private networking (VPN) and encryption.
- Power over Ethernet (PoE): PoE delivers low-voltage electricity over data network cabling to wireless access points and endpoint devices such as IP phones. It has become critical as more devices attach to the network.
For most SMBs, the decision to upgrade is generally easy to justify when you consider reduced maintenance costs, increased productivity and enhanced collaboration. Many organizations obtain a full return on their investment in 12 to 18 months — and sometimes in less than six months.
A lack of in-house IT expertise often is the main reason that SMBs hesitate update their network infrastructure. Many SMBs are also concerned that they won’t have the ability in-house to support the new network — particularly when they deploy voice, wireless, collaboration and other mission-critical and network-intensive applications. A good solution is to partner with an outsourced IT or managed service provider to handle the day-to-day administration and support of the network.
If you have not upgraded your network in several years, it has likely become out-of-date — and that can put you at a competitive disadvantage. Let Atlantic-IT.net, your outsourced IT department, help you design, configure, implement and support an up-to-date network infrastructure that will take your business into the future.