Many small businesses have a vague sense that something is off with the way their network is set up or performing, but with the daily focus on sales and operations, this doesn’t typically get the attention it deserves – until something bad happens.
Something bad can include anything from increasing slowness across the network, loss of shared data, backup problems, computer viruses, hacking, mobile access issues, even data theft and ransomware in extreme cases.
At NSGI, we’re in the business of getting small company networks under control. As such, you’ll have to forgive us if we have a bias here but we’ve seen too much not to. For companies of 5 employees or more, who require mobile or VPN style access to their data from both on-site and virtual employees, a professional assessment and upgrade of your home-grown network is an absolute necessity and the best time to do it is before you are in a crisis.
Here’s a few tips for upgrading your IT network that can make this process smooth, future proof, and affordable. From the experts at NSGI.
Start with a Network Assessment
A Network Assessment done right, is actually a formal process that starts with an analysis of business goals and your company teams and workflow. Many IT companies cut right to technologies and start implementing firewalls and software solutions just because that’s what they know how to do. But honestly if your needs for shared data involve high bandwidth CAD file sharing and not just word docs, how does this help you? Are hardware firewall solutions more appropriate for you? Is network performance a consideration at every turn? Does everyone have access to shared data including employees and management because network segments are not set up properly? Are you still using “cloud” backup solutions instead of truly secure ones dedicated to you?
A Network Assessment by NSGI doesn’t cost a fortune, and will lay out exactly what your current issues are, and recommend solutions that are designed to carry you many years into the future. Network Performance, security, and user experience are the key elements of this study and cost option tradeoffs are presented. The network Assessment lays the groundwork for the next phase of the upgrade: The Network Upgrade Proposal
Access the Cost/Benefits of a Network Upgrade Proposal
For small companies, cash flow is king. The urgency of network upgrades and security will depend on how you perceive the need inside your company. Certainly companies with multiple employees handling sensitive financial data will need and want a more comprehensive solution than a local restaurant. With the help and assistance of an expert, recommendations for upgrades are a natural extension of your Network Assessment. Critical flaws and upgrades should naturally be prioritized first. Tradeoffs can sometimes be made between hardware and software solutions or features to save money. At the end of the day nothing recommended in the Network Assessment is required, it is entirely up to the business owner what they want and how much they are willing to spend on upgrades.
Years ago, NSGI did a network assessment for a large casino. We generated a long, heavy report on security and performance issues inside their network and quoted them a price for some badly needed upgrades. The management team there agreed to “take it under advisement.” A couple years later lawyers from the company contacted us. The Casino had been the victim of a massive hack. The resultant theft and downtime had cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars and the lawyers wanted to know why our recommendations hadn’t stopped it. We had to explain to them that while we can diagnose problems with your network, we can’t make you fix them. The Casino had never hired us, or anyone to do the recommended improvements. In this case, they had paid a dear price as our upgrades would have cost far less and almost certainly prevented or mitigated the impact of their issue.
“The Price of Liberty, is Eternal Vigilance”
While this quote is attributed to Ben Franklin, it works pretty well for Network Security too. Once your new, fast and secure network is implemented, constant monitoring, updates, and user education are the key. No network is or will ever be 100% secure that has human beings interacting with it and so addressing this through User Awareness Training is key. NSGI has conducted user awareness training courses all over the USA and is at the forefront of communicating essential security strategies and awareness to both technical and non-technical employee audiences.
Data Security for Everyone
The techniques used by NSGI are scalable with your business. Start small, and let us grow with you. We can help your team succeed.
Call NSGI Today and let’s find out what you need.
This blog was originally published at https://www.nsgi.com/tips-for-upgrading-your-network/