The business world has changed dramatically within the last ten years, especially for small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs). From the confined space of a desktop PC in an office based environment, business has now developed to cover multiple locations, time zones and devices.
However, as the culture of the workplace continues to develop within a 24/7 environment, the need to let go of the traditional restricted corporate infrastructure and provide the modern employee with the flexibility of 24 hour connection to their work has increased.
For SMBs in particular, being small also means being nimble. By their very nature, SMBs can be more agile than larger enterprises. They can adopt new technology more quickly and easily than larger organisations, providing them with a chance to future-proof their business against competitors. However, despite this opportunity, many businesses are still hesitant to embrace the wireless technology that could provide them with the agility that they need. If they want to continue to succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace, a wireless network is something that businesses simply can’t afford to ignore.
The need for wireless
Having up to date and seamless technology has become imperative for SMBs to thrive within an ever changing business landscape. Recent research has revealed that three quarters of small and medium sized firms now believe that having a reliable network in place is essential for business success. Not only does this keep employees connected, wherever they are, but it also boosts productivity, strengthens competitiveness and enhances customer service; areas that can make a significant difference to any SMB.
There are many other benefits of having a reliable wireless network in place beyond connectivity. Research has revealed that half of SMBs suggest that the introduction of a wireless network has boosted company morale and team building, as people are not required to stay at their desks and can freely mix with colleagues around the work place. This becomes increasingly important as a business continues to grow and expand across multiple offices, giving employees the freedom to work from the location that’s most suitable to them.
Overcoming the challenges
It is clear to see the importance that wireless technology holds for SMBs. Yet unfortunately introducing this technology doesn’t always come easy. According to research, nearly a third of SMBs have considered abandoning all wireless plans after a bad experience with poor network quality and reliability, while a further third feared a possible data security risk.
The problem with a mobile force is that multiple devices are needed, which in turn can cause headaches for smaller businesses. As more devices connect to the network and the amount of data increases, significant performance security implications arise, not just on the wireless infrastructure but the whole IT network. Firewalls and application security will need to be re-evaluated to ensure safe and secure access to the internet. After all, only so much traffic can come and go through the firewall door at any time without having an impact on network performance.
Allowing the user to connect to the network from any device, at any place and any time, requires 24/7 networking monitoring. Traffic coming from and to the internet needs to be cleaned, regulated and controlled, while data will also need to be backed-up and protected. Therefore having a resilient and scalable network that minimises downtime risks is essential. With this in mind, SMBs should choose a network infrastructure that includes a backup capability as a standard.
Fortunately these problems are easily addressed. Although there are no solutions on the market designed specifically to meet the requirements of smaller firms, easy-to-implement and cost effective solutions that do not require advanced IT skills can be installed quickly using an existing infrastructure, delivering consistent and secure wireless access across the work place. By investigating all options and seeking advice from the experts, SMBs can be sure that they invest in the right technology to enable them to achieve their wireless goals simply and affordably.