It's a great idea to consider putting together a cost-effective IT network for your business. Whether you're a small/medium business or a large corporation with hundreds of employees, it's critical that this system can handle all of your employees' needs without breaking the bank!
If you’ve been looking into purchasing an already built system with the hardware, software, and customer service programs already included, you may be looking at thousands of dollars to buy all these components. The good news is you can build your own from the ground up with the help of an experienced managed IT services provider of your choice.
Here are seven ways for you to build a cost-effective IT network:
1. Start With The Server
It’s always a great idea to start by purchasing your server first. This process is often called 'building from the inside out.' By buying this product first, you’ll be able to determine precisely what you need. This decision is crucial because it’ll help you stay within your price range and let you purchase all the items required for a cost-effective network that works for your business. And if you don't know how much of a server you will need, there are some great calculators online to help you make the best decision.
2. Know Your Needs
Before buying anything, it’s essential to know what your business needs are. These needs should include everything that your employees do while they’re at work. If you can't think of this off the top of your head, consider talking to your team and management to find out what’s needed for their job. Also, take into consideration things like high-definition video conferencing and online meetings. If you plan on using these programs regularly, it would be in your best interest to add them when building your network.
3. Be Clear On Your Budget
Having a set budget when building a cost-effective IT network is very important! If there are certain pieces that you need, but they cost slightly more than you had planned, look around and see if something else meets your needs for a lower price (going back to 'knowing your needs' will significantly help with this). For example, instead of getting an expensive phone system with many features you may never use, just go with an average one that gets the job done.
4. Building On A Budget
If you only have a set amount of money to put towards your network and it’s not enough, but you still need some additional parts, look at your internet connection. Having decent speed will help all employees stay connected and send files back and forth if needed; this also allows for anyone in your business to work from home or out on the road (if necessary). Unfortunately, there are lots of ISP's (Internet Service Providers) that offer slow speed that can’t handle high-demand items like video conferencing. Asking around can help you find providers that offer higher rates for a reasonable price.
5. Choose The Right Networking Equipment
When it comes to building a cost-effective IT network, networking hardware is important for your team. You need to determine which type of switch is best suited to your particular company's needs—wired or wireless? For example, if your company works with mainly wired devices then an Ethernet switch would be perfect for you. On the other hand, if your employees mainly use mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets then a wireless switch would be best.
6. Use Networking Software
You’ll also need to consider the kind of networking software you’ll use. You need to find software that can improve efficiency and enable remote access for easy file sharing and real-time collaboration but it should be at an affordable price of course! A great option is OpenVPN which provides multiple user VPN access, site-to-site VPNs, Wi-Fi security, intrusion detection/prevention, and more.
7. Get The Right Support
Remember that choosing the right networking equipment and software is only half the battle. To be truly successful you also need support from a company that knows what they're doing. This way, if any issues should arise, you'll have a reliable support team available to quickly address them before they spiral out of control.
8. Make Sure You Have An Adequate Disaster Recovery Plan In Place
There are numerous ways to lose data - some of them you'll be able to predict, others not so much. What's important is that for any eventuality, you have a well-thought-out plan of action that enables you to minimize the damage and get things running again as quickly as possible (and it goes without saying that this should involve saving your original data off-site somewhere!).
9. Office/Desk Phones
An office phone system is an often overlooked item when building a cost-effective network. These phones vary in features and prices, so look around to see what will work best for your company. You may find that there are additional perks with certain providers (like free long-distance or cheaper rates). And if you operate in the United States, keep in mind that each state has different regulations for this system. It’s essential to talk about it with your employees and management before making a purchase!
10. Cross Compatibility Between Brands
When buying all of your products and software, try to get something that can be used across multiple brands and not just one specific product line (sometimes this isn't possible). Doing this can help you save money by being able to use the same part in multiple places across the company instead of having to purchase each one individually.
11. Buying Things You Might Need Later On
A great way to build a cost-effective network isn’t only to buy items that are needed now but also to buy additional parts that might come in handy later on. Perhaps there are particular features you know you want for your office space or internet connection, so keep this extra equipment just in case! Just make sure that if the time comes and it isn't needed, you won't end up paying too much money for something you won't use. With all these options available and companies constantly changing what they offer, it’s crucial to be able to adapt quickly!
Building a cost-effective IT network is possible with the right team, hard work, planning, and patience. If you’re willing to look around for deals and go above and beyond what your needs may be at the time, you’ll find that it’s easy to accomplish.