5 Tips on Improving Your Net-Work
While I have always preferred to work alone, with my own rules, recently lots of friends sharing my affection to apps and stuff have to work at home. Not much did it change in their job, however, due to Slack or Zoom. But it only highlights the necessity of having your network optimized. Especially in situations like today, when you keep social distance while offline and overload your cables instead.
As always, some were better prepared than others. Some research I’ve read shows that a correct optimization of digital infrastructure is noticed by as many as 73% of the employees whose productivity benefitted from it (guess the rest are the admins who implemented it or those about self-assistance). Especially it concerns collaboration – that’s what the doctor ordered to the world today!
No matter if you’re a major company, a market leader, a trendsetter, or just a small startup with high hopes and tiring homes, these instructions are probably the essence of how to boost your productivity in the workplace. Especially if you’re only connected to your head office digitally, not physically. No downtimes allowed, no lingering welcomed, no mistake forgiven. Consider this when building your network.
It means you should keep your mind open for new ideas and not let your previous experience get over present facts. But it also means keeping your software updated. My father told me how it was back in the 1990s and early 2000s. Older software versions were often better than the newer ones because they were compatible with old hardware, and new features were often useless without new equipment.
But, people, it’s 2020 now. Windows and OS X haven’t received major updates for very long, Android and iOS apps are compatible with versions released seven or eight years ago, the feedback is almost instant, and bugs are quickly fixed, because of otherwise negative reviews overflow. No need to stick to old versions (unless the developers ditched some critical feature). If you stick to Linux- or Unix-based solutions, they are built to last too. Performance is no more an issue.
As for hardware, the general rule says that your routers and other network equipment should be updated every three years. By the way, if you move all you can to the cloud, you just delegate this responsibility to the data center, and they are to handle it well. A cloud can be accessed from various networks; that’s the reason to implement SD-WAN-based solutions that can cover diverse hardware structures with one virtual corporate network.
Mind the Traffic
YouTube is the killer of the office process (unless it’s necessary to monitor it). So is Facebook, Netflix, other entertainment services. No matter how broad your band is: it’s never enough if misused. While some are streaming gigabytes of media, others lose packets, get their downloads corrupted and their conferences interrupted. Even decent operations like backups and updates can happen at inappropriate times.
To avoid this, take measures to monitor your traffic. Distribute your traffic via VLANs. Shape every single connection to avoid bottlenecks. Finally, configure routine operations so they don’t jam your bands in the working time. Entertainment blockers are productivity boosters.
Get Your Security Right
As life is shifting online now, so does the crime. Not the best time for drug dealing on the streets or store robberies. But cybercrimes get more common, from basic fraud to fine hacking. Leaving breaches in this world is like living in a house without locks.
Don’t become a number in breach and cyber crime stats. Don’t neglect encryption. Back up all your important data. Audit your infrastructure on a regular basis. Monitor Wi-Fi traffic in your network to detect leaks. And, please, no “12345678” passwords!
Using a VPN is a part of security, too. It’s especially important today when more people than ever work from home and reach the work resources via external carriers. Keeping data safe is still a priority, so optimize your VPN for those of your staff working at home. So let the VPN increase Internet speed and provide better access to your corporate resources for those dwelling abroad.
Check Who to Trust with Your Data
Service providers make your network function – physically. Virtual as it is, our world is basically physical, depending on wires and antennas around you, connecting you to the world. So select the provider known to grant uninterrupted connection with bandwidth guaranteed as well.
Your service provider is your best friend now. Take it. Try to establish as good a relation as possible. You may need urgent help, from troubleshooting to serious repair. The provider is also taking its measures for keeping the network secure.
Today’s service providers can provide you the whole specter of services you need: accessing the Internet and local networks, hosting your corporate resources, ensuring timely local and cloud backup, software updates, and so on. Last but not least: this collaboration works well on scaling your business. The only downside of this is lack of your own control; but it’s only a downside if your company is really ready to handle it on its own. And it depends on the staff. So…
Staff as the Best Investment
You can perfect your network and hardware, but it’s people using it. Make sure your employees are trained and certified. Creativity, alertness, imagination – all these properties are purely human, impossible to replace with any AI.
On the other hand, even the best pros need proper tools to show their talents. So, along with education, salaries and bonuses, make sure they all have the proper equipment. It depends on the work, but an employee needs to be provided with an Internet connection, a decent terminal device, and all the software necessary. If it requires specific peripherals (like graphic tablets, microphones and musical instruments, cameras, 3D printers, and so on), they should also be provided.
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What do you think about it? It’s only a glance over the big world of boosting productivity, providing security, and so on. I’ll be glad to read your stories in comments, about your problems and your solutions. Even if your story is longer than mine; it might be more interesting as well.