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Assessing Your Small Business Technology Infrastructure

Is your technology ready for business? Learn how to make sure that the tech in your office—your PCs, network, and mobile devices—is right for the job.

Assessing your small-business technology infrastructure may sound like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. At the most basic level, you’re simply evaluating what you have, what you need, and how to get it.

Hardware is the watchword here—specifically, which machines will best serve your company into the future. If you’ve ever wondered whether your business is built to scale, or even survive over time, here are some of the best questions to ask.

How many PCs or servers do you have?

If it’s more than four or five, you may want to consider consolidating some computing power away from each desk. Server rooms offer a nice, flexible option: Properly cooled and designed, they provide expandable processing power well into the future. For an even more versatile option, you can try remote-hosted software and servers that avoid the hassles of upgrades, maintenance, or equipment.

Do you plan on expanding soon, or are you a one-person shop for good?

If your business is essentially you, you may not need additional infrastructure. But if you expect to add employees and payroll in the future, then it’s time to think about some company-wide hardware standards.

Look at some reviews of enterprise operating systems, office software, and bulk licensing for the other programs you use. And if your employees will be using their own mobile devices to work, consider putting a mobile computing policy on paper—you never know what kids today will be packing when they arrive on Day One.

What are your networking needs?

Home networks work fine when you’re alone in the garage, but you’ll need something more robust if your company expands. Take a look at some of the “fatter” data pipes available, from top-flight cable networks to your own dedicated T1 line. After all, the last thing your growing business needs is to drop orders because your network can’t handle the bandwidth from all those transactions. Many ISPs even offer “business class” packages to help streamline your experience.

Are you a road warrior or an office drone?

Either way, you’ll need the right tools for the job. Mobile business requires mobile hardware, from rugged smartphones and tablets to ultralight notebooks that can run all day on a single charge and slide into a portfolio with ease are perfect for the road warrior.

Consider your data needs as well: portable hotspot devices, which allow you to generate a mobile wireless connection and keep your company online and in the black as you process transactions on the road. And if you stay in the office? Weight and form factor matter less, of course, so you can focus your energy on pure processing power and reliability.

Stay Ahead

Infrastructure may bring to mind images of highways and bridges, but in the world of business it simply means the machines you rely on every day. Choose these wisely and free yourself up to focus on what matters most: your product, and the people who use it.

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