Managing your Network: A guide for small businesses

A small business will often speak about their network without realising that their business runs on more than one type.

Most businesses associate the word ‘network’ with the infrastructure used to keep their business online. However, your network actually concerns everything that your business relies on in order to keep your IT running efficiently.

Your network is designed to prevent problems, enable you to work more effectively, ensure that your employees become more productive due to more access to IT, maintain a secure business environment and allow you to stay up to date with technology.

Although, the idea of managing your networks may seem all but too daunting for a business who only has basic IT knowledge. Fortunately, technologies have drastically improved and evolved over the past few years making managing your network much simpler than before.

Five areas of Network Management

There are five areas of management your business must be aware of when it comes to looking after your network:

1) Software management - Taking care of any software, upgrades and updates installed when new versions become available.

2) Hardware management - Maintaining any physical hardware including servers, power supplies and backup drives.

3) File management - Businesses who have a central file store on their server should keep their files organised, archive old data and delete temporary files as you go.

4) Security management - Backups and firewalls should regularly be tested and scanned for viruses and malware to avoid any attacks.

5) User management - Giving employees different levels of access to your network and removing access rights when employees leave the business, will reduce administration costs and improve your network’s security.

However, if your small business does not have a team, or IT skills to manage your networks efficiently, you may find it more suitable to use an external IT contact or managed providers to look after it for you. This will give you peace of mind that your network is managed correctly and to a sufficient standard.

Although maybe at an added expense, it’s certainly worthwhile if you experience any network failures which could have a significant effect on your small business.

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