As a small business owner, you face thousands of options when it comes to setting up infrastructure. A Cisco partner can discuss your business requirements and evaluate your current systems and network infrastructure. From there, they can present options for solutions that will meet your needs today, grow with your business over time and fit your budget.
When budgeting for network enhancements, it’s smart to take into account factors such as the cost of any software not included with your hardware purchases, maintenance, training, support and additional staff (if needed). What’s more, an end-to-end solution from Cisco is easier to maintain and support than a piecemeal, multivendor solution. Your Cisco partner can help you budget for all direct and indirect costs related to your network enhancements.
Below you will find a few things you might want to ask about to get you started.
Switches are used to connect multiple devices on the same network within a building. For example, a switch can connect your computers, printers and servers, creating a network of shared resources. The switch, one aspect of your networking basics, would serve as a controller, allowing the various devices to share information and talk to each other. Through information sharing and resource allocation, switches save you money and increase productivity.
There are two basic types of switches to choose from as part of your networking basics: managed and unmanaged
· An unmanaged switch works out of the box and does not allow you to make changes. Home-networking equipment typically offers unmanaged switches.
· A managed switch allows you access to program it. This provides greater flexibility to your networking basics because the switch can be monitored and adjusted locally or remotely to give you control over network traffic, and who has access to your network.
These are a critical component in networking basics and are used to tie multiple networks together. For example, you would use a router to connect your networked computers to the Internet and thereby share an Internet connection among many users. The router will act as a dispatcher, choosing the best route for your information to travel so that you receive it quickly.
Routers analyze the data being sent over a network, change how it is packaged, and send it to another network, or over a different type of network. They connect your business to the outside world, protect your information from security threats, and can even decide which computers get priority over others.
Depending on your business and your networking plans, you can choose from routers that include different capabilities. These can include networking basics such as:
· Firewall: Specialized software that examines incoming data and protects your business network against attacks
· Virtual Private Network (VPN): A way to allow remote employees to safely access your network remotely
· IP Phone network: Combine your company's computer and telephone network, using voice and conferencing technology, to simplify and unify your communications
These hardware and software products are designed to protect your network from a variety of threats and the need to have them is clear. According to the Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report, “all organizations should assume they’ve been hacked.” Cisco Security Intelligence Operations (SIO) researchers found that malicious traffic is visible on 100 percent of corporate networks; this means there is evidence that adversaries have penetrated these networks and may be operating undetected over long periods.
These findings underscore why it’s critical for all organizations to focus on protection which includes security appliances that may include integrated firewalls, VPNs, authentication, intrusion detection and more.
In the past, employees often needed to be sitting at their desks to get the bulk of their work done. With wireless networking, using smart phones, tablets, laptops and more, your team can access internal servers or the Internet from anywhere in your office, on the sales floor or in the factory. You can also create guest-only wireless access so your clients can connect to the Internet but have no contact with your primary network. Wireless access points provide the connection to the Internet and to your network either as a device or as connected to a router or as part of a router.
A Cisco partner can help you evaluate your short- and long-term business objectives and talk to you about our products that can help you get up and running and services that can keep you going.
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