Almost every business relies on computers and the internet to get things done. This is true for big and small businesses. The only difference is larger businesses have easier access to advanced networking options to streamline their technical operations.
What about small businesses? Are network switches too complex and expensive?
Traditionally, small businesses have turned to routers to serve as hubs of activity. These routers allow users and devices to connect to the internet. This means that multiple users would have access to computing, printing and more.
Clearly, routers are important, but most small businesses have discovered their limitations. Routers have limited ports, which can make setting up more devices difficult.
However, when you use a switch for small business networks, you can easily give different devices on the network the ability to communicate with one another. This creates powerful levels of communication that streamline operations and minimize complications.
If you are new to this idea of network switching for small business operations, then keep reading. We will look more closely at your options for switches, and explore why you need to invest in one for your small business networks.
Different Switches to Consider
As you consider switching for small business operations, your first step should be considering the various products on the market. There are a number of different switches and cloud-managed networks available to you.
Although there are many brands, you cannot do better than Cisco switches. The options for Cisco switches are vast, and many are scaled for your small business needs.
Which one should you choose? Here’s a quick overview.
Fixed-configuration switches are often the most affordable options, which is what makes them so appealing to small businesses. A key benefit of fixed-configuration switches is that they are not scalable due to their limited ports – meaning the cost is fixed at a lower rate, making them perfect for businesses which know they won’t be requiring a larger switch.
If this doesn’t sound like your business or you have a business on a fast-moving growth trajectory, some of the following switch options may work better for you and your company.
One variation of a fixed-configuration switch is the unmanaged switch. Unmanaged switches are as simple as you can get. They provide basic connectivity – all you do is plug in, and you are good to go. No further configuration is required.
Unmanaged switches are most common in homes, but very small businesses with limited needs may also find them useful. With no significant modification features, these switches are great for minimalistic demands.
If you are looking for a switch that offers a bit more control and customisation, then consider smart switches. Smart switches are still fixed-configuration options, however, these switches have some management features that offer more segmentation, security and a better service.
Smart switches are most commonly used as part of a larger network. However, if your small business needs minimal infrastructure, then smart switches could work very well.
The last type of fixed-configuration switch is the managed switch. Cisco managed switches are extremely popular as they provide more control. This means you can fully customize a managed switch to tailor your network.
Of all fixed-configuration switches, managed switches offer the most flexibility and scalability. This is why they are useful in both large and small business contexts.
There are many applications for fixed-configuration switches. However, if you are interested in cloud-managed networks that can grow with time, then going modular might help. Modular switches adapt to your changing needs.
Modular switches have specific settings for different applications in your business. You can adjust these switches for firewalls, network analysis and connectivity. Some even have options for more interfacing. These switches are the most powerful, but they are also the most expensive.
Do You Need a Switch for Your Small Business?
If you have not yet invested in a network switch, you may be hesitant to invest your time and money. However, there are three powerful reasons why a network switch is a good choice for small businesses.
1. Get Flexibility for Your Business
Your small business has to be agile to survive. A network switch can provide this flexibility. The whole point of a switch is to design your network to work for your business. Your switch can direct traffic, giving your employees access to the right applications at the right time.
This flexibility ensures less downtime, and it gives workers easy access. These networks are designed to be customised to your exact needs. The same switch can be set up in distinct ways to meet the needs of different companies.
2. Embrace Simplicity in Your Operation
If you operate a small business, you have enough on your plate. You should not have to be a network expert in addition to everything else. Switches can provide the functionality you need without further complicating your daily operation.
Switches are surprisingly intuitive. They come with an accessible web dashboard and plug and play options. They work with your existing wireless data and video solutions. Many smaller businesses have limited technical support staff. Switches allow novices to accomplish more complex tasks. Switches also reduce stress for your workers so they can focus on their jobs and not network issues.
3. Gain Security for Your Enterprise
Finally, you should invest in a switch to give your network security a boost. Small businesses are incredibly vulnerable to security issues. These businesses often use the same online functions as larger companies but without as many protections. Small companies simply do not have the budget or personnel to execute advanced security tasks.
Fortunately, with the right network switch, network security is built-in. Most switches come equipped with end-to-end security options to prevent malware, avoid phishing and more.
The Bottom Line on Network Switches
Network switches can be powerful tools for your small business. Although they do require an investment of time and money, the benefits speak for themselves. With so many options to consider, it is easy to find the right switch to suit your business’s size, scale and budget.