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Starting and running a small business is no small endeavor. You have a lot on your mind, from strategy to figuring out your competitive advantage, to HR, to payroll, to employee benefits, to risks, to managing employees and more. Putting your small office network together is another essential item on your to-do list. However, it’s time-consuming and foreign, but it has to be done.;
I’ve heard from many prospects and colleagues that it’s confusing to set up an IT infrastructure in the cloud. That’s why we want to show you how to put a small office network together. However, keep in mind that every business is different and what you need may change depending on your business needs.
These are the basic items that every business owner should set up when putting together a network in the cloud.
Setting up your small office network
Although creating a network is simple — all you technically need is a computer, router and Ethernet cable. This is not scalable and odds are it won’t meet your needs as a small business. For example, if you want to be hooked up to a printer, share the network with multiple people, or share a printer on the network, then you will need a more complex infrastructure.
Part 1: Choose a router for your small office network
You know that a router is required for your small business network, but consider capabilities like your firewall, virtual private network (VPN), and IP phone network when you’re evaluating different routers. If you have remote employees, a VPN is a direct line and secure connection to your network. Your remote employee would literally just need their laptop if at a coffee shop using free internet. When looking for a router, we recommend a business grade router – but take into consideration your business needs like the number of employees, security, and single or dual WAN. If you have departments that need to continuously share or upload files, then consider a dual WAN so that you can keep your bandwidth available for other employees using the network.
Part 2: Obtain the email with your domain name
Go purchase your domain name email if you haven’t already. This may seem obvious, but not all business owners see this as a priority, especially if they don’t have any other employees. There are many benefits to buying your email – it gives you credibility and trust, not to mention it’s inexpensive and easy to set up! You can set it up with either Gmail, Office 365, Google Apps for Work, or from the Web Hosting company that you bought it from. When deciding on your provider, look at features such as storage, support, access, security, and user management.
Part 3: Setup business antivirus protection
There are several avenues for your network to get hacked – from downloaded programs to spyware, to hackers, all of these attacks need a system to prevent them from crashing your network. A new article from TechRader.com shared a list of the best business antivirus software, and we couldn’t agree more. Here are some to name a few: Avast Business Antivirus Pro, Symantec Endpoint Protection 14, and Bitdefender GravityZone Business Security. With attacks happening every day, make sure that you’re preventing serious risks to your and your client’s data.
Part 4: Backup your laptops and computers
We cannot stress this enough. Make sure that you and your employees backup your computers to avoid the risk of losing critical client, company, or personal information. Many of your employees (or even yourself), will continue ignoring all of the warning signs, and then your computer crashes. We don’t want this to happen to you. It’s as simple as saving local files on your desktop. Always schedule regular backups of your data and test your backup restore capabilities to ensure your backups are free from any data corruption.
Part 5: Set up a firewall with Wi-Fi
The firewall locks down any of your ports that don’t need to be open. An open port is your attacker’s opportunity to get into your network – it’s the hole in which your business uses to send and receive information. But your firewall is your first defense for any incoming attacks from those ports. That’s why it’s critical that you have a firewall set up as part of your network. In most cases, your router has a built-in firewall. Make sure to set a password, update your router firmware, and block pings from your network. By sending out a “ping” request, a hacker is looking for any responses from a network. If they receive it from your network, they will look further into your network to see if they can break in.
Part 6: Set up your wireless printer
We know that printers don’t exactly come with an “easy-to-use” manual, not to mention, there are several reasons why a printer isn’t responding to your network or computers. To set up your wireless printer, ensure that you have “switches.” A switch is a device that’s used to connect multiple devices together in a network.
At the end of the day… your small office network will help protect your business.
Start small, but consider how your business will change over time. Prepare for the number of employees you will take on and mitigate risks by setting your network up to avoid security breaches and loss of data.
Here at Netsafe, we help small businesses with managed IT services and can help you plan and implement your IT strategy as well as get your network setup. Everything we do starts with service and we’d be glad to help you get your small office network running.for more information