Whatever be your business size, if it has anything related to technology, you will need some type of data network. The network is the core of your small business that allows you to communicate with your employees and your customers. It also increases the security of your transactions. As your small business scales up, you will need one server to keep your office server network running efficiently. In this article, we will describe how to manage the IT infrastructure in a small business.
A business ecosystem consists of people within and outside the company, communication, and data channels. If you want to have seamless communication between the people in your offices and your outside clients, you need to set up a server network. It will connect not just computers but also other devices like modems, printers, etc. Most small businesses rely on things like data and email, which will pass through the server.
Wireless or wired?
A computer network or a Local Area Network (LAN) is a matrix of interconnected computing devices. Your data network can be installed in two ways-either through a wired network or a wireless one. Though a wireless network is easy to install, you have to keep in mind that if your employees are outside the coverage zone they won’t have access to the company network.
From a security point of view, a wired network is preferable over a wireless one, especially if you are going to store sensitive data in your computers. A wired network is more fast and easy to install.
You can use an Internet Connection Device or ICS, which is a service native to the Windows operating system. Nowadays, it is common for a small business to run some networking locally, and offload some of the storage and traffic over a cloud network.
Consider the needs of your business
Before you start to invest in a new network, you have to first evaluate the needs of your small business. Every small business has its own unique requirements. The networking needs of a garment manufacturing company will be very different from that of a retail store. In this way, you won’t waste your valuable time, money, and energy buying things that might be of no value to you. You should first figure out the layout of your office space and the number of devices that need to be connected.
Before proceeding to build a data network, you have to figure out what type of files need to be shared, and the levels of access to be given to each employee. You also have to consider the future expansion of your company. If your business is going to grow, it might be a good idea to go for managed IT services or cloud data storage.
What is a server?
Once you have two or more computers in your office or need remote access to the network, you have to install a server. A server is a powerful computer that is used to share information across your employees, customers, and other stakeholders through computers connected over the internet. They are at the heart of every network. Important files are stored in the server, rather than on separate machines.
What are the benefits of having a server?
The benefits that you will get from a server network are accessing data from anywhere, remote work, and a low operating cost.
A server gives employees a single point of collaboration or data storage so that they can work productively. Suppose you have a small business comprising of 10 people, and each person has a desk and their own computer. The files that they work on should never directly be installed on their computers. Instead, the right way for your employees to access these files is to install them on the server.
A server will give you greater control over access rights to certain information such as payroll data or personnel files. If you install certain programs on the system then all your client data will be on that main computer. It will also help you in data recovery if any changes are made to the stored files. So, your information is going to be much more secure.
The network setup costs in your small business will be low since your employees are going to be using shared resources. Most often small businesses use servers for:
Make sure you have the right equipment for your small business. Office networking in a small business involves the following:
- Install Windows.
- Create a server room.
- Basic network connectivity in which the switch or router connects to the internet and it also connects to the computer devices.
- Shared file storage so that everyone can leave their files in some common network space where it is accessible to all.
- A shared printer that can be used by anyone on the network to print.
- Wi-fi or wireless access on the network.
You can use a wireless internet card to connect to a wifi network. Several computers can get connected online this way. The computer with the wi-fi connection will act as the proxy server.
Choose the best installation for your data network
Setting up a server for a small or medium-sized business is quite easy. In this article, we will guide you, step-by-step, on how to set up a server network for a small business.
Basic Network Hardware
The back-office hardware components of your network will comprise of the following:
1. A patch cord,
It is also known as an ethernet cord. It looks like a phone cord, except that the ends are fatter. There are eight wires inside and it is used to connect the network components. All the network components have an ethernet outlet also referred to as a port. For example, a switch has eight ports in it.
2. A modem
A modem can be a cable or a DSL modem. A DSL modem has four pins for the phone cords with the signal to go in. There is a router built into this, and the four switch ports are the ethernet ports that are connected to the computers. This device is needed to take the signal either off the telephone wire or from a coaxial cable and convert it into a usable network signal. We can connect this signal to an ethernet port.
A cable modem has got a spot for the cable connector to go inside, and also an ethernet port at the back. It is a hardware device that allows your computer to communicate with an Internet Service Provider over a phone connection.
3. A Router
Routers join multiple networks together and find the best routes for data to travel. A router switch combination which has got one port for the internet service, and switch ports for plugging in computers. It takes the network signals or network traffic coming from outside, and it keeps track of where they should go.
The router finds the best route for data to travel. For example, if you are sending or receiving emails, the router sends them to the appropriate computers. You can also set security measures and standards through the router.
4. A switch
A switch is an electrical appliance that allows you to take and multiply your network signal from one port to too many ports. It is the point of connection for every piece of hardware in your network. These switches connect computers on the network and help in forwarding and receiving data from the intended devices.
You should install a good firewall having a GUI interface, and they are pretty easy to set up. You should go for a good and reliable brand like Cisco. Firewalls are intended to prevent unauthorised access to or from any private system.
Other hardware that you will require are:
- Ethernet cables and jacks
- Multiple computers or laptops with one main server.
- Patch panels for connecting the cables to the port or the switch.
A server network has a big role to play for a small business. Whether it is to protect you from hackers or making your operations more efficient, you have to invest in one, if you want your business to grow. We hope that the roadmap which we have described in this article will make your installation a breeze!
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Q. What is the speed of a wired network?
Ans. The speed of the wired network is between 100 MBps and 10 GBps.
Q. What is an IP address?
Ans. Every device needs an IP address to connect to the server. Internet Protocol (IP) address is the address of the computer hardware. It is a number code that helps to connect with the network and systems from all over the world.
Q. What is the full form of DNS?
Ans. Domain Name System.