When a business is just starting out, the temptation is to keep expenses low in order to get through the critical first few years. After all, you have other start-up costs and finances to take into consideration.
However, when setting up a computer network for your growing business, you should also take into consideration scalability. Network scalability is the ability of your computer network to grow with your business as your needs change. Not taking scalability into account can mean spending more money on infrastructure down the road.
What is Network Scalability?
One of the definitions of network scalability is the ability of your computer network to handle the amount of traffic that runs on it. When a business is starting out and is relatively small with a handful of users, having a scalable computer network may seem to be an unnecessary expense, since the smallest amount will seem sufficient. However, on the contrary, you must remember that as your company grows, your business technology needs will also change.
While a business is small, a shared communication line may be all that is needed to ensure that the office can access the Internet. However, more users and more complicated online communication needs mean that you’ll also have greater network bandwidth needs. As a company adds more users, the need to do more downloading or transferring of files, will require more bandwidth and faster speeds, the original network equipment needs to be able to handle that traffic. By understanding what future needs are likely to be, a network architect can choose equipment that will be able to grow with you.
At the same time, while a business is still getting off the ground, a handful of users may find that sharing one printer, locally hosted and shared on someone’s machine, to be a fine arrangement. Once again, as that business grows and adds more users it will increased printing needs, this former arrangement may no longer be sufficient. Investing in a network printer that will allow multiple user access may be more expensive at first but will pay off in usability and lack of downtime in the future.
How to Plan for Future Growth through Network Scalability
By investing in technology that can grow with your business, you can rest assured that your computer network will grow with your business. Though your business may not use the full capabilities of certain devices from the very beginning, having that flexibility for growth and expansion can help.
For most business owners, these needs can be addressed by your IT consultant or technical department. This is yet another reason why it pays to consult with an IT specialist early on in a business’s operations. Keeping scalability in mind while your business is just starting out will help to ensure that your computer network will grow with your business needs. Investing in technology that can grow with your business is always a smart choice.