Has your company outgrown its network? Are you anticipating business growth? Or are you simply looking to upgrade your infrastructure? If so, the following tips can help ensure that you build the right network.
The first step toward building the right network involves forecasting how your business will grow. You should consider whether there will be employee growth and brainstorm what networking infrastructure you will need to meet your company goals. You should also investigate which technologies are becoming crucial to business (such as cloud computing). By choosing the right solutions the first time, you minimize the decisions that need to be remade in the future. Additionally, you prevent your network from breaking down as more users seek access, reducing support and upgrade costs.
If you don’t have the in-house expertise to choose the right equipment for your network, you may want to consult a reseller. You should thoroughly explore to find a partner who has the proper product selection, training, and expertise for your business needs. Often, resellers are distinguishable by certification. For example, Cisco resellers fall into four certification levels:
- Select: Focus on small business market
- Premier: Technical competency in the integration of Routing and Switching, Wireless LANs, and Security technologies
- Silver: Premier certification plus two specializations among Unified Communications, Routing and Switching, Security, Wireless LAN, and Express Unified Communications Specialization
- Gold: The broadest range of expertise across Unified Communications, Routing and Switching, Security, and Wireless LAN.
You should also choose a partner that has experience in your industry and can help you maintain regulation compliance (such as HIPAA, FIPS, PCI, etc.)
Once you’ve found a partner that can help you meet your business’s unique needs, you can build your future-proof network. Here’s a look at the various networking products to consider:
- Routing & Switching: A router is the foundation of your network; it provides access to the Internet and serves as a connection point for remote and mobile users. As a result, it’s important to prioritize reliability. Ways to do this include employing a back-up Internet Service Provider, purchasing a router with dual power supply, and/or creating a redundant system with two routers.
- Security: When building your network, security should not be an afterthought. This is because piecemeal hardware devices, such as intrusion and prevention appliances and spam tools, may not communicate with your router. Instead, consider your security needs upfront and include solutions such as a comprehensive Identity Services Engine and e-mail protection appliance such as Cisco IronPort.
- Mobility: With the current trend toward device proliferation, employees want to connect to the network from anywhere and at anytime. Selecting a high performance Security Mobility solution will enable them to do so.
- Voice and Unified Communications (UC): Investing in UC components will ensure you stay current with the latest innovations in conferencing, messaging and collaboration. For example, you can purchase a soft-phone application that gives PCs deskphone functionality, or you can use dual-ring technology to ring employees’ deskphones and mobile phones simultaneously.
- Video: Video is expected to encompass 90 percent of network traffic in 2014; therefore, it is important that your network equipment can support these higher bandwidth applications and provide the ability to prioritize critical versus noncritical video.
- Virtualization: Server and application virtualization offer many benefits to a growing business. Not only does virtualization eliminate the need for physical servers, saving power and cooling costs, but it also ensures that all business locations have the same access to data and resources. To reap these benefits, you’ll want a router that provides WAN connections.
- Cloud: One of the hottest tech trends, cloud computing is becoming essential to running a cost-effective business. A reseller can help determine which type of cloud deployment will best meet your company’s needs.
For a more in-depth “how-to” guide, read the Right Network whitepaper.
For more information about the Right Network and what it can do for your business.
Do you have any advice for upgrading to the right network?