IT Networks though simple, require extensive planning to ensure stability, yet we often encounter businesses that are unacquainted with the imperative role networking plays in the efficient functioning of their company.
Informed business entrepreneurs often opt to upgrade their networking systems to suit their organizational structure. Although upgrading is an expensive, time consuming process, its benefits are ten fold. Though, there are some small size companies that insist on having a Windows XP workstation function as a network server, this decision may eventually lead to decrease in efficiency and productivity of the entire Information Technology environment.
Network Consultants should always analyze the nature of your business so as to recommend a networking/Information Technology system that would be the best fit for your business. IT Consultants should evaluate both hardware and software requirements to guide your company through the pros and cons of various networking options that your business may be considering.
From a network consulting standpoint, these are five common problems that are either neglected by businesses or not included in the overall planning of the Network Infrastructure.
Disaster Recovery: Although entrepreneurs are risk takers they provide for all contingencies. While they insure their store and goods against fire, theft, natural calamities, etc., in many cases they ignore the need to implement a disaster recovery plan for financial records, employee payroll and client data. Losing valuable customer information to a fire would result in temporary chaos and a financial drain. Therefore, a data recovery system should be available to restore normal operation within 24 to 48 hours.
There are several options to evaluate depending on the size of the business. A good Technology consulting company should be able to assess the needs and accordingly recommend an IT recovery plan that is fool proof yet affordable.
Redundancy: Although businesses are advised to maintain an alternate or redundant source of power supply for critical servers, many entrepreneurs ignore this simple loss prevention method in order to save a few hundred dollars. For example, servers that process customer credit card transactions are not exempted from the probability of failure and if not backed by a redundant power source, it may lead to a major financial loss. The point that I am trying to get across is that important network equipment should be identified and a redundant plan should be implemented to provide against unforeseen circumstances.
Network Security: Viruses are not strangers to the world of computers and internet. While performing technology analysis and auditing we come across businesses that have servers on DMZ without network security [http://www.onsitechicago.com/networksecurity.htm] measures like a simple firewall. We have seen instances were employees had full access to the network server running virus inviting programs like Limewire. An obvious result of this would be a slow network. In most cases, passwords for workstations, servers etc. are identical and shared. Impermeable network security plans should be implemented especially when business IT infrastructure holds confidential information of clients or individuals that may become a risk as well as an embarrassing situation if lost or stolen.
Network Speed: Businesses always focus on maximizing efficiency and productivity at the lowest cost and what better way to achieve this goal than to minimize wastage of employee time? Speed of IT networks depends on many factors from simple network security policies to restrict P2P software to intelligent switching hardware. You may be surprised but network infrastructure cabling (Cat 5, Cat 6, and Fiber Optics) also makes a significant difference on the performance of the entire network.
Expandability: Change in networking structure is an option that should always be open for clients. To plan ahead is important as a business need not overhaul a huge part of their network to see an insignificant benefit. A simple example would be to anticipate network storage requirements of data. Clients often overlook the importance of discussing options with consultants to make sure their IT system remains adequate for at least 3 to 5 years. The aim should be to minimize dollars spent without hindering the quality of work being performed by employees.
Consultants are professionals and while their recommendations should not be overlooked, they should not be adopted blindly either. As a customer you are entitled to know the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of every suggestion made. Request layman’s explanation for every problem encountered. Most importantly, ensure that the 5 major and basic areas are covered in the initial audit reports or recommendations made by any Technology consulting company.
Onsite Chicago is Technology Consulting Company for business in the Chicago area. Featured in major newspapers they are considered one of the top business network consulting firms. To view a complete list if IT services from Network Management, Network security and data / telephone cabling please visit Chicago Business Network Consultants page.