Small Business Networking: The Basics

Working Together to Improve Business

As Dr. Jayakar's "offsite IT department," this Cisco Premier Certified Partner helps keep things running smoothly. (2:21 min)

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Working Together to Improve Business

As Dr. Jayakar's "offsite IT department," this Cisco Premier Certified Partner helps keep things running smoothly. (2:21 min)

The small business network isn't just about making contacts and exchanging business cards at trade shows. In today's global economy, small business networking is about reducing your operating costs. It's about reacting quickly to changing markets and customer needs. It's about being prepared for the future.

A small business network begins with a highly secure and reliable data network foundation that's fast and accessible. Following are seven ways that a small business network can transform your company:

1. Work Anywhere

A small business network uses a host of technologies such as virtual private networks (VPNs) that enable mobile employees and teleworkers to work securely at home, on the road, or at customers' offices. They have full, secure, remote access to your phone system, data network, customer database, and any other tools they need to be productive. It's almost like they're in the office.

2. Access Customer Data Wherever, Whenever

Secure small business networking allows you to input, update, and view information about customers in a database. You can access that database using a computer, phone, or handheld device. Having constant, secure access to customer information helps workers better serve customers. And satisfied customers often result in increased revenues.

3. Be Prepared for the Future

Designing a secure, flexible small business network allows you to easily, cost-effectively add new applications, such as voice and video, when needed. Your business will be better positioned to keep ahead of competitors and offer new services to customers, both of which help your business grow.

Adding voice and wireless to your secure small business network provides additional benefits:

4. Streamline Network Management

Combining voice, data, and other applications into one network simplifies network installation and management. And a single network requires less physical square footage, which helps make the best use of expensive office space.

5. Communicate More Effectively

A secure voice and data network foundation lets you check email, voicemail, and faxes from one inbox. A single phone number will ring simultaneously on multiple devices, preventing callers from landing in voicemail. Employees can hold impromptu meetings online with colleagues, partners, suppliers, and customers. With enhanced communications, your company can more easily expand globally.

6. Reduce Costs

Consolidating all your communications onto a single network saves companies an average of 46 percent in network costs, according to market research firm IDC.

7. Use Your Phone as a Computer—and Your Computer as a Phone

Having one secure network for voice, data, and wireless can give your business benefits not possible before. Your employees can roam the sales floor, warehouse, office, or campus with their phones, so they're never out of touch. They can use their wireless phones to look up customer data, access the company directory, get stock quotes, and perform other tasks. When traveling, employees can use laptops to make and receive calls using your company's full phone system—just as they would if they were in the office.

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