Let's discuss on how an SMEs of about 5 to 10 employees leverage on IT technology in their operations. We are talking about either an engineering, trading and services industry who serve other businesses (Business-to-business operations).
We are going to look into 5 key areas:
- Internet and IT infrastructure
- Email and Web Hosting
- Telephone Setup
- Software for business operations
- Future possible expansion
- Connectivity: Running category 5e or 6 network cables (easily available and is about $95 to $120 per point) for connectivity. Alternatively, you can consider going for wireless, however, nothing is as stable as cable.
- Router: Usually provided by Internet Service Provider (Starhub, Singtel, M1 etc) when you sign up with a contractual plan of 24 months.
- Internet Plan: You can subscribe to a fibre plan typically below $100 for 30Mbps and above. Do compare with Singtel, Starhub and other smaller players (like MyRepublic) for best deals if available, but do not compromise on stability and reliability.
- Network Switch: You can go for 100 Mbps switch or 1 Gbps switch with either 8-port or 16 Port with POE (Power-Over-Ethernet) to compliment your telephony equipment and wireless Access Point for mobile devices.
- File Server: You can consider NAS which you will need to learn how to maintain or administer or get SMESUITE which covers the services to administer and maintain it for you.
- Backup: Buying a NAS with RAID is not equivalent to backup. You need a separate harddisk with similar capacity to backup your NAS. However if you choose to go for SMESUITE, all backup are taken care of.
- Printer: Multi-function laser printer which acts as laster printer, scanner and fax should be good enough for most us. However, avoid copiers unless there is necessity to do mass printing. Attempt to discourage physical print copy if possible as not only it cost more to print physical paper with expensive ink, but also take up storage.
|Simple example of network setup|