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Q:My business technology could use an upgrade. Is it time to set up a computer network?
A: It likely is. Many businesses are used to spending as little as possible on technology, but it's important for entrepreneurs to make sure the technology they invest in today can support their needs tomorrow. A solid network foundation that ties all your technologies together cost-effectively supports your company's business processes, increases operational efficiencies, lowers costs, increases security and makes it possible to easily add more advanced technologies as needs arise. A consistent, secure and reliable network foundation can provide many benefits, including:
Anytime, anywhere information access: Employees can securely access company databases from home or on the road, turning what might be "dead" time into productive time.
Flexibility: A solid network foundation allows growing companies to be flexible in their future plans. It can be scaled up as a business grows and new employees are added.
Faster information exchange: A single network foundation provides the opportunity to easily and securely exchange information among employees, partners and clients. Enhanced collaboration can lead to faster decision making, better customer service and, ultimately, increased profits.
The ability to add newer, emerging technologies: A secure network foundation provides the platform your business needs to add VoIP, video teleconferencing from your PC, webcasting and other cost-saving and productivity-enhancing technologies. Your business applications can evolve from simple printer sharing to complex B2B data exchanges and supply-chain management using the same network infrastructure.
Enhanced security: Without a common network foundation, a business may have multiple internet connections and various types of hardware devices-an environment that's extremely difficult to secure. In contrast, a single network foundation is streamlined and consistent, making it much easier to secure. Map your short- and long-term business goals to the network-enabled technologies that can help your business realize those goals. If you weigh the many competitive and financial advantages of a secure network foundation against the costs over time, you'll quickly see the return on investment.
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