If you work with a growing business, you may quickly realize that opening a few branch locations could help you serve your target market more effectively and provide you with a geographically diverse set of resources. The plan to connect multiple offices within the same network infrastructure should be a key priority in your growth strategy.
There are a few guiding principles you should keep in mind when you connect multiple offices:
Determine how the offices will communicate. Traditionally, an enterprise expanding to new branch locations would utilize a wide area network (WAN) to support and connect with a number of local area networks (LANs). The downside is that this type of configuration tends to be expensive, both in terms of installation and ongoing costs.
Fortunately, your enterprise now has the option to run branch locations on a virtual private network (VPN), which operates through the internet. VPNs are secure and transmit data more quickly than a WAN. Because you can use a single leased line to the internet for a VPN at each branch location, they are also significantly less costly than a WAN approach.
Consider migrating to cloud computing. When working to connect multiple offices, you’re likely in a major growth trajectory. It can be challenging to know what to invest in when it comes to licensing and servers. The answer is a cloud solution. Easily scalable and with no hardware investment, it prevents you from sinking too much into a technology purchase that you won’t need.
There are a few drawbacks with cloud computing such as the threat of cyber attacks, and you may wonder whether it can perform like an on-site system, but it is unquestionably the best option for a business just starting out or one that is growing quickly.
Invest in on-site support for IT. If you only have two or three locations and fewer than 150 employees, you’ll likely only need a single IT staff member. Larger organizations may need support at each location, but be sure to hire support from a single organization so that you can achieve consistency over your branches.
Add in remote support: If you have a single IT person — or even an IT support staff — for each location, what is your plan for when those individuals are unavailable? You may want to outsource your IT support, or you may want to install a help desk at your company for those times when your IT staff is in transit between locations, or they’re enjoying some paid time off.
Prioritize consistency: Standardization uses a cookie-cutter approach to achieve consistency across multiple locations. This doesn’t mean that you can’t customize branch locations for their particular needs, but when it comes to infrastructure and how you’re communicating, configuring network settings and setting up platforms, you’ll want standardization.
At TailWind, we understand the challenge of working to connect multiple offices as your enterprise grows. We offer asset management and certified onsite technician support, as well as high-speed broadband connectivity to streamline your business processes with minimal downtime and exceptional network performance. Contact us today.