All new businesses need to create a plan for how they will meet their computing needs. In the modern world, it is very difficult for a business to succeed without a basic computing setup and a connection to the internet. Fortunately, it is now very easy to achieve both of these requirements cheaply and easily. As your needs become more complex however, you may find significant value in contracting an IT consultant to provide assistance in setting up, maintaining and supporting your network and systems.
What type of IT setup does your business need?
This is the first and most important consideration. If you are a sole-trader working from home, you probably already have everything at your disposal - a laptop or desktop computer, a smartphone and an internet connection pretty much covers it. With these three components you are able to perform a huge amount of tasks both at home and on the go, and you are able to communicate effectively and access online software and resources.
If your business has (or will have) employees however, your considerations become more complex. While it may be as simple as just adding more laptops to the basic 3 part setup above, you have to consider a few things:
- Speed: if you are working out of your home and using a standard internet router, there is a limit to how much traffic it can handle. While 2 or 3 people may be able to work on the same router without an issue, adding more people or performing a lot of demanding tasks simultaneously will slow the system down and impact productivity. An IT consultant will be able to recommend additional hardware to maximise the speed for each individual user.
- Local area network security: should every person have full access to the entire network? If you are utilising your home network, it may not be wise to open it up to everyone you are working with, even if you trust them. Your IT consultant will be able to configure your system to limit each individual’s access without preventing them from doing their jobs.
- Online security: as more people are using your network you have less control over what they do online, which may open you up to attacks and malware. IT consultants can assist you in putting safeguards and controls in place to close vulnerabilities and prevent risky online behaviour.
- General productivity: could your team benefit from having a central server which the whole team can access, so you can quickly share files and data? If so, your consultant will be able to assist you in selecting and setting up a server to do that effectively.
- Resolving connectivity issues: in a simple home network, turning the router off and on again is enough to fix 90% of problems. We have all experienced the long wait times on hold with our Internet Service Provider when this technique fails however. When it’s just your personal internet, it’s a nuisance, but when your business loses its connection and your employees cannot work, it can be a disaster. IT support specialist can often resolve these issues for you directly, without needing the ISPs assistance.