In the modern business world, it is no longer a luxury to have a high-quality business Wi-Fi in place, but it is a necessity in order to stay competitive. SMB owners and IT managers are becoming increasingly dependent on network solutions that support data requirements seamlessly, securely and flexibly.
Finding the right balance between a network that is flexible and secure has historically been very expensive and complicated. Many smaller businesses have fallen behind with redundant solutions that are often little more than home Wi-Fi networks, that simply don’t offer business-grade bandwidth or security.
SMBs that are at a sensitive stage of growth may will suffer greatly if there is an under investment in their network. Their growth will be restricted if it can’t support their processes or ways of working, or if sub-par network security leads to a network outage or data breach. SMBs therefore cannot afford to be restrictive on increasingly important business requirements such as mobility and security and stump their growth potential.
A mobile future
It is essential that network infrastructure is designed to handle the additional traffic brought on by mobile devices. In the modern day, they are considered by many businesses to be critical to processes and productivity. Network segmentation is key to minimising downtime during heavy traffic, with separate staff and guest networks minimising the vulnerabilities associated with multiple network connections.
Profile-based network access will also enable SMBs to establish their own network connection rules, such as which devices have permission to access the network, and the period of time that they are allowed to stay connected.
For SMBs that experience seasonal network peaks and troughs, it is important to have a scalable network that is flexible enough to cope with the added strain of a sudden surge or dip in users and devices joining the network. By implementing visibility and control measures, SMBs can determine when bandwidth demands are at their highest and can plan to boost access in the areas where it’s needed most to balance out supply and demand.
Understand evolving staff requirements
The millennial workforce brings a change in the working landscape, and with this comes the rise of the bring your own device (BYOD) culture. This results in not only an increase in app usage internally, but for external communications too. The younger generation is becoming more attuned to this way of working. This makes it imperative that businesses of all sizes pursue a ‘networking first’ approach, to ensure they can keep new entrants in the workplace in the manner to which they are accustomed. Only then will employers be able to attract the best talent, while supporting fast paced growth and keeping the company assets secure.
Preparing for the future, today
It is often assumed that investment in business or enterprise class technology isn’t necessary for SMBs and is often overlooked due to high associated costs, or because they simply don’t have the requirement. The truth is that businesses of all sizes should seek full visibility of their network. By investing in flexible and low-cost enterprise level cloud managed network solutions, businesses can manage their network on the go and gain insight into network demand to support network flexibility and scale as needed. Rather than adding and upgrading when things start to fall over.
The livelihood of a small business could be put at risk if investments aren’t made to bolster networks, security breaches, misstep or downtime. Advanced Threat Prevention (ATP) technology can allow business owners to feel assured that all cyber threats are in safe hands, being automatically treated with the most up to date cyber security.
SMB owners should look to planning for future threats and demands in order to cope with peaks and troughs, as well as the more demanding expectations that come alongside rapid growth.
Rachel Rothwell, Regional Director Southern Europe and UK at Zyxel
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