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Setting up and managing a computer network is essential for most businesses these days. It will enable your employees to access the same broadband connection in addition to sharing folders and drives and accessing software. Devices such as printers and scanners can also be set up on your network. If you have recently launched a new business and are in the process of hiring staff, you will undoubtedly be considering networking in order to get more out of your computer system.

With a modern computer, it is fairly straightforward to set up a network, but many businesses prefer to hire a specialist IT Company to undertake the work. This can be a good option, particularly if you have a number of end users.

How to set up a network

Common operating systems such as the latest versions of Windows and Apple have networking capabilities, so as long as you have a modern laptop or PC, setting up a network should be fairly easy. Many businesses select a wireless internet connection, which is easy to install and eliminates the need for additional wires. A wireless connection will also enable visitors to access the internet via a laptop. A non-wireless connection is more reliable and cost effective but will require additional ethernet cables. You’ll also require a router to allow each computer access to the internet.

Security

IT systems are vulnerable to an increasing number of threats such as spam, viruses and spyware and you should take measures to protect your network. You can do this via security settings in the router or operating system and through wireless encryption protocol (WEP), which uses password encryption to protect network traffic. You should also set up passwords for network log-ins so only authorised users can gain access. Anti-virus software is also essential and will need to be updated regularly. A firewall is another good way to keep your network safe.

Outsourcing IT functions

For many businesses, implementing an IT system is both expensive and time consuming and requires the recruitment of specialist staff along with on-going costs for training and evolving technologies. Sending some or all of your IT functions outside to specialist companies dealing with IT support, Chester based or elsewhere could save you money and will leave you with more time to focus on the running of your business. Networking is just one function that is commonly outsourced; others could include help desk operations, hardware support and software development.

Whether you choose to hire an outside company or do it yourself, setting up a computer network is an essential step for most businesses. An effective network will enable your employees to work to their full potential in a team. Sharing files, software and other devices will increase knowledge and efficiency among your staff and this in turn could see an overall improvement in your organisation’s bottom line.

Oliver Smith is a network consultant who writes on the subject for a range of websites. Oliver uses sources giving IT support in Chester and elsewhere to keep abreast of developments in the industry.

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