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Networking 101 for Small and Growing Businesses

By TerryAnn Fitzgerald, SMB Solutions Marketing Manager, HP Networking

 

TerryAnn FitzgeraldThe story of David and Goliath often plays out in the business world. Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) bring nimbleness, flexibility and adaptability to the table.   Look at David. He did this incredibly disruptive, innovative thing when he brought the slingshot to the party. He thought outside-of-the-box to tilt the scale in his favor.

 

SMBs can do the same while taking on the Goliaths of the business world. Some SMBs see technology as a challenge, while a few “Davids” use it to find new solutions to old problems. They see developments such as mobility, social media, and cloud computing leveling the playing field for businesses. You don’t have to be a global corporation to be able to win business halfway across the world or hire the most skilled specialists—even if they live thousands of miles away. A key component —to take advantage of new trends and leapfrog the competition—is a robust, scalable network capable of growing right along with you and handling any workload, securely and reliably.

 

No matter what stage you’re in today and how much you plan to expand your reach in the future, creating the right network is crucial for successful business expansion and cost savings. You need to know how to create a network that can keep pace with your business growth and you need to know what to look for in networking technology. So, here’s networking 101 for SMBs:

 

Understanding the nuts and bolts of networking

Before you can make sense of all the options (and there are plenty) out there in the networking space, you need to get a good18506-20140623.jpg grasp of the building blocks of a network and the way they come together to deliver the business solutions you need. If you’re someone driving a growing business, maxing out your time as well as your budget, then the HP white paper “A guide to understanding networking technologies” is a must read. The paper quickly takes you through key concepts such as:

  • Basic components of an IT network and the distinct roles they play
  • Pros and cons of the different types of fundamental networking products
  • Nascent trends that define the new network and business realities
  • Checklist of what to look for in network management solutions

I cannot overstate the importance of making informed network decisions, because the choices you make today can have far-reaching implications for your business.

 

Taking the mystery out of networking

“How can I make sure that the network solution I deploy today allows me the flexibility to draw on new, innovative third-party applications and network devices that may come up in the market later?” “As the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) work culture takes its roots firmly, how can I prepare for it?” “What can I do to protect my network investments as my business needs evolve?” “And how can I make sure network management stays simple and cost efficient even as I scale up my IT environment?”

 

The HP guide to understanding networking technologies aims to answer all of these questions and clear the fog that surrounds decisions on network solutions.

 

Shaping a network strategy that works for you

If you’re just starting out, there is a lot to consider when building your network from scratch. You will likely opt for plug-and-play network hardware that is preconfigured for ease of use and a no-brainer setup. In other words—no IT geeks required. As you grow, it may become appropriate to expand your network with hardware solutions that offer greater control over network performance and security. And if you ultimately become a midsized business with, say, 100-plus users and multiple branch offices, you’ll find yourself “playing with the big boys” — complete with an IT staff, even if it’s one or two dedicated pros. You’ll then be able to engage enterprise-level competitors by matching your business roadmap with an IT strategy that lets you control all aspects of your network.

 

To delve deeper on what to expect, download the HP networking guide.

 

Remaining a David

Partnering with an expert like HP can be of great help. You’ll have a trusted advisor guide you and meet your needs at each stage of your network evolution. HP can help you retain your agility and speed—the advantages of a small business—no matter where your business journey.

 

>> For more information about the HP SDN solutions visit www.hp.com/networking/sdn

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