There are many things going through a business owner or executives head when it comes to opening a new office space. Some of the questions include, will I have enough space? What type of furniture should we order? One question that is not asked enough in our experience is, what do I need for my tech setup?
Why IT Considerations should top your priority list for your new office
Today, technology powers companies all across the globe. Could you imagine a desk without a laptop or desktop computer in today’s age? We have been called to many office locations where everything was meticulously planned, but somehow the IT needs of the office did not come to mind. Client data, sales orders, and mostly everything else that drives a business today go through the electronics within your office. Could you imagine your business without your computers, or Internet? This is why tech needs should be one of the top priorities when building out your new office location.
Most important tech items needed in a new office
While tech is important in a new office, there are some must haves. The must have items in a new office build out include sufficient Cat5/Cat 6 cabling, a good and reliable Internet Service Provider, an office server, and sufficient networking equipment.
Sufficient Cat5/Cat6 Cabling:
Every device in your office is likely connected to the Internet. Sure, WiFi can work wonders. However, hard wired Internet connections are the most secure way to ensure your employees have a reliable connection to the web.
A lot of business we have worked with have run one cable for each desk, however, it is ideal to run two cables per desk. The reason each desk should have two Cat5/Cat 6 runs is for VOIP phones. Even if you are not using VOIP currently, it is likely you will consider switching by the time you move out of the office. It will cost a lot more to add more runs down the line than it would to run two while office construction is underway.
Some people may say that most VOIP phones have built in switches. That is true, but they are usually 10/100 which means you are throttling the computers they are connected to. Additionally, adding additional switches to your network is adding an extra piece of equipment not needed, and increasing ping (delay of network transmission).
Some will also say they do not need Cat5/Cat6 runs because all the office computers use WiFi. What most people do not realize is that WiFi is slower than Cat5/Cat 6 cabling. As you add more employees, and more devices, that means more access points. Also, WiFi will never be able to take advantage of the true Internet speed your office is provided. This means you may be paying for 1GBPS, but in reality, your employees may only see half that speed on WiFi.
Good/Reliable Internet Service Provider
When all company records were stored on paper, most companies did not care much if their Internet went out. In today’s day and age, if office Internet goes down for even an hour it means lost productivity and wasted payroll. In fact, reliable Internet should be one deciding factor in which office you go with.
If possible a business owner or executive should opt for a fiber Internet connection. Fiber connections are usually dedicated to each customer, and come with an SLA (Service level agreement). Fiber connections see much less downtime than standard Broadband or DSL connections.
If a reliable Internet connection is not possible to achieve in your building, consider using two ISP’s. Having a second Internet connection setup may be an added expense, but if the connection goes down your employees can keep working saving you more in the long run. Our IT Managed Services team can help you get connected with the best ISP in your area.
A lot of new businesses set their technology up with expensive computers, networking equipment, and Internet Service Providers. However many neglect to install an office server. Yes, your office can function without a server. On the other hand, a server can help keep your company files in a central location. This allows for better data retention and backup. Furthermore, an Office Server will help keep your computers secure if it is setup properly with Active Directory.
If you are opening a small office, a server may not be needed right from the start. However, if you plan on expanding in the future, a server will likely be needed. Setting up Active Directory on a server with 5 users is a much easier task than setting up Active Directory for 100 users and onboarding all the computers. A good help desk services provider will help you setup a proper office server and ensure that it meets the needs of your office.
Sufficient Networking Equipment
There are many options available for networking equipment. One of the many questions many businesses ask us is if they need a firewall. The answer to that question is yes, you need a firewall if you are in business. Cyber threats are a real problem in the 21st century. A good firewall adds another layer of protection between your business and hackers. Keep in mind one cyber breach can cost your business thousands of dollars. If you work in industries such as finance, medical, or legal, industry standards and regulations require a fire-walled connection.
While security is one major concern in regards to networking equipment, speed and reliability is equally important. TekHattan recommends and employs Cisco Meraki networking equipment for our managed clients. The Cisco Meraki networking equipment helps keep your network secure and reliable. The best part of the Cisco Meraki gear is the ability to manage it in the cloud. For us, cloud management is very helpful for our clients since we can make changes, push updates, or check network status remotely without the need for an office visit.
Some other considerations when choosing network equipment is security updates, speed, and max users it can support. If your business makes an investment, it is best to future proof that decision so you do not need to upgrade equipment soon after the purchase.
If you need help setting up your new office technology, contact us today so we can help.