Subscribe via RSS Feed

10 Essential IT Products For Small Businesses

July 27, 2017 0 Comments

When providing IT support to small businesses, questions like the following often come up:

What can we do to improve a customers existing setup?

How will implementing new hardware / services provide obvious benefits to a customer.

How can IT changes save you Time and money?

You may be asking these questions about your own business, if so I hope the following information is useful to you.

In this article I will discuss ten products/ services that I think all small businesses can benefit from and the product I would recommend for each category.

Server Operating system

This is the one single product which I would recommend to all small businesses. The benefits gained from centralised management of security and network services mean that more time can be spent focusing on your business rather than trying to manage an office full of independent computers. As this article is aimed at small business I need to mention Microsoft small business server, makes the server technologies used by larger organisations available to small businesses at an affordable price. These include Exchange, Sharepoint, Update Services, and many other tools.

Firewall

A firewall provides protection for your business from web threats. Modern Firewalls can also provide additional functionality such as Web Content filtering, Gateway Antivirus and VPN connectivity. For any company which values their data a firewall is a good investment. It allows you to protect your network and data from external attacks and gives you peace of mind that your systems are protected.

Offsite Spam filtering

There are billions of spam messages sent everyday; this is a problem that most small businesses face. You need to look at the amount of time each day you and your employees spend sorting through and deleting spam, when you total up the amount of time over a year and the cost of this time to your business it quickly becomes apparent that a lot of time and money can be saved through efficient spam filtering. I have seen situations where a good anti spam service can save a business hours of employee time a day, this allows them to spend more time doing productive work and ultimately benefiting the business.

Client Operating system

You already have an operating system otherwise you would not be reading this! However you may be using a home edition of XP vista/or an out of date (needs updating) OS. I have included this in my list of ten items as I often come across people using peer to peer networks with cobbled together XP home machines. These are a drain on time in terms of manageability and the ongoing effort needed to support them individually. The best solution is to go for either XP Pro or Vista Business/Ultimate, this will give you better security and sharing options but also allows you to join to a domain when you upgrade to a server. If you already have a server you should already be using one of these products. If not now is the time to consider the benefits of changing!

Backup Solution

No business should be without a backup solution! That’s right, EVERYONE should have a backup of their valuable data. Imagine what would happen if your office burned down and all your data was destroyed, how would you cope? I often see people backing up to an external device but then leaving this attached to the PC, this is obviously no good if there is a fire! Backups need to be regular and taken offsite, either through automated means or by physically taking the backup media offsite to a secure location. The amount of time and effort saved from having a good backup could be the difference between a rebuild and the company going out of business.

Antivirus Software

Like spam, viruses are a problem which affect all computer users, choosing the right anti virus product means that you are getting the best protection for your money while also minimising the performance impact the software has on your pc. It is all too common to find people with reasonable spec PCs that are being bogged down by their antivirus software. Changing this for a product with a smaller system footprint gives performance benefits as well as increased protection if you select the right one.

Office suite

Open office makes a great free office application and I would recommend it to anyone who can make do with the full functionality of MS office. However I think Microsoft office is worth the cost for outlook alone especially when connected to an exchange server. The interaction between the office suite and the collaboration features mean it should be an essential purchase for all small businesses. l

Server hardware

Choosing the right server hardware is important to protect your data and network infrastructure. This will be where your core data is stored and be used to configure and maintain your network. You need to consider redundancy such as RAID in case of a disk failure and also consider the performance requirements of your server. If you need to run resource intensive applications you will need to consider a higher specification server than someone who just wants to perform simple file sharing.

UPS

When purchasing a server you should always get a UPS (Uninterrupted power supply) to support it. The UPS will protect your server from power spikes and in the event of a power cut can keep your server online. The other advantage of a UPS is that it can be setup to cleanly shutdown your server when the UPS is low on battery power, this can help protect your server from the damage that can be caused by a sudden power outage.

Network Printer

The most stable way to deploy a printer in a business environment is to use a proper network printer. I have come across many businesses that use a printer per PC or share a USB connected printer from one of the computers, moving them to a true network connected printer provides ease of management as well as increased availability. It removes the dependency on a single users PC and removes the need for a business to have multiple USB connected printers. They then only have to purchase one type of cartridge/toner to maintain the printer resulting in reduced running costs. Recommended Product: HP2600n

http://www.problemfreecomputing.co.uk – Problem Free Computing blog
http://www.mmmlordy.co.uk – Author’s blog

Related Small Businesses Articles

 
Filed in: Business • Tags: , , ,

About the Author:

Leave a Reply