February 19th, 2019 Read Time: 4 minutes
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Your office’s network infrastructure is made up of many different hardware and software components that are used to support your company’s intranet and internet. This includes modems, routers, cables, network outlets, switches, servers, firewalls, and more.
Before everyone started relying on the Cloud, many companies also had on-site databases, operating systems, application servers, and web servers to store their data. In addition to staying up-to-date with their on-site equipment, they also needed adequate IT support to ensure that everything was properly maintained and monitored.
When manufacturers updated the tech on that equipment, it would be time for companies to upgrade. After all, they didn’t want to risk losing their data because of bad equipment! But updating said equipment could take anywhere from months to years. It would not be abnormal for manufacturers to come out with new technology by the time companies completed their last upgrade on all their equipment. Needless to say, it was a costly cycle for businesses to stay up-to-date.
Nowadays, many people are migrating, or even starting out, on the Cloud. Cloud-based services provide, maintain, and update all the required equipment, whether it’s for storage, backup, or collaboration. Not only does this save companies from having to upgrade equipment after every new technology update, but it also frees up IT teams to support tasks elsewhere.
While migrating to the Cloud may simplify your network infrastructure, that doesn’t mean you’ll never need an upgrade again. Your business still needs access to the internet, and every business needs internet that is secure and reliable. An upgrade may be necessary to accommodate a business’ growth. And even though the Cloud has helped cut costs for many companies, there are still businesses using local databases and on-site servers for a variety of reasons. Whatever it may be, there will be be times when your business is due for an upgrade to your network infrastructure.
A site survey allows your company to review what equipment you already have on site and takes into consideration your business’ projected growth. This allows you to plan a network upgrade that is not just to fulfill your current needs, but also your future needs. Information you would gather in a site survey includes:
Number of users
Type of equipment and devices
Current internet connectivity
Security and privacy considerations
Existing network infrastructure
New services required
It’s important to plan ahead when coming up with a network infrastructure upgrade project plan. Something could go wrong, or the upgrade could take longer than expected. You should also have a backup plan. This is a detailed procedure on how to continue business operations in case your equipment replacement fails or if your software update isn’t complete in time.
Planning ahead is important because you don’t want to be caught in a situation where a problem pops up and halts your business operations. It’s vital to communicate with your entire office to let them know about the timeline of the upgrade and your backup strategy. You may also want to plan out your network infrastructure upgrade project in phases, especially if you are undergoing major upgrades.
It is crucial to backup all your company data before you upgrade any part of your network infrastructure. Companies should always be backing up their data regardless, and you may already be working off of cloud-based software that automatically backs up your data. It’s not uncommon for data to be wiped when undergoing a software update, so even if you think all your data is backed up, always double check to make sure.
Never implement your network infrastructure upgrade or maintenance during peak business hours. After hours or, for more complex and time consuming upgrades, the weekends are best for installing new equipment and upgrading software. This ensures a longer maintenance window and allows time to test your network upgrade with minimal to no interruptions to your business operations.