Designing a network is a complex task. You have to factor in a lot of internal and external aspects such as your company’s requirements, possible security threats, the organization’s growth plans, and more. The following best practices will go a long way in making your life easier when configuring your office network.

#1. Understand your needs

Before anything else, you need to thoroughly assess the needs of your business since they will affect your network setup.

Here are some questions to guide you:

  • How many computers and peripherals will connect to the network?
  • What kinds of data and files will you store and share?
  • What applications will you use?
  • Will employees access the network with mobile devices?

Your answers to these questions will help you decide the right technology that can handle your business requirements. For example, if your organization transfers large files across the network, you’ll need a higher performance switch. If your employees will be working remotely, it’s best to set up a virtual private network (VPN) to secure the connection.

Make sure to also factor in the direction that your organization will take in the near future so you can invest in a network that can grow over time. Doing so will be less expensive and time-consuming than replacing an inadequate network down the road. Planning for the future will also allow you to easily add features and functionality as needed such as voice over internet protocol (VoIP), video surveillance, and integrated messaging.

Finally, don’t forget to design your network with reliability and redundancy in mind. This will help you bounce back quickly from unforeseen events that may disrupt your business operations.

#2. Limit the use of the administrator account

The administrator account can access any information and change any configuration in the system. Therefore, the damage can be more extensive if you are hit with malware while logged on as an administrator. To protect yourself, create standard user accounts for most of your activities like web browsing, file creation, and email access. Only use the administrator account for system reconfigurations and software installations and updates.

“Ugh, you mean I have to use the same router as everyone else? How basic.”

#3. Standardize your network

Keep your hardware and software consistent throughout an organization. For example, if you are using multiple routers, use the same model for all. This simplifies configuration and maintenance since you only need to learn and keep track of one type of router. You’ll also benefit from faster troubleshooting and lower tech support costs.

With standardization, you can roll out a company-wide upgrade of your equipment, operation systems, or key applications at the same time and conduct the same tech training for all employees.

#4. Document your network design

Though tedious, network documentation will save you a lot of time and make your life so much easier, especially when you have to completely recreate your network if a disaster strikes. Since troubleshooting most network problems requires a thorough diagnosis of the network’s characteristics, capabilities, and history, documentation will make troubleshooting and regular maintenance faster and more effective. It will also ensure your network’s scalability and stability as you add more technology in the future.

“Oh, but I wanted more time with that IT guy...”

Your documentation should include the following details:

  • Network diagram
  • Specs of each machine including servers and workstations
  • Description of the IP scheme
  • List of all equipment passwords
  • Description of the backup strategy

While these tips and best practices are good starting points, remember that every network is uniqueー there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. It’s best to seek help from IT experts like Red Key Solutions to ensure that your network foundation is built on solid ground. When you partner with us, we’ll make sure to customize a networking solution that meets your needs and fits your budget. Contact us today to get started.

Red Key is a leading Managed IT firm that is bringing AI to companies in New York City, Westchester County, Fairfield County Connecticut, California & beyond.