Nearly any business can reap benefits from the tools available on a computer—core office software like word processors and spreadsheet creators, such as Microsoft Word and Excel, have become essential. While a single, unconnected computer is powerful, that computer connected to a network becomes vastly more scalable in its power and usefulness to your business.
Does Your Business Need a Network?
If you want your business to be competitive in the market, whatever that market may be, then a business computer network is almost certainly going to be necessary. It's not enough to simply have a computer in your business—a computer needs to be able to connect with other computers and systems.
If your business is made up of more than a single employee, then it can benefit from a computer network within your business. A local area network (or LAN) will allow you and your employees to communicate with one another, and share information and office equipment resources such as printers, scanners and fax machines.
Connecting your business network to the biggest network around—otherwise known as the Internet—greatly expands the value and effectiveness of your business. An internet connection expands communications with email, voice and video options; provides access to critical data and information, and grants access to customers on a global scale.
Business Office Networks
Regardless of the size of your business, you will want to connect your computers, printers and any other equipment with a local area network. Setting up an office network will allow you to share information across your business. In addition, you will also be able to share the equipment that you have. For example, one printer can serve several employees.
Your network is not limited to a single building your business occupies. If there are multiple buildings in an area, a campus network can be set up to connect employees and resources in each building. If your business spans more than one city, more than one state, or even if it is spread across the globe, your business network can be connected by a wide-area network or WAN.
Business Networks and Internet Connections
The Internet is "the world's marketplace." With an Internet connection, you can communicate with suppliers, customers, prospective customers, employees and anyone else who may be important to your business. You can also advertise and sell your products and services anywhere in the world.
Beyond giving your business access to the Internet and World Wide Web, an Internet connection can also be used to give employees access to the business network from remote locations, such as from home or through a mobile connection while traveling. A virtual private network, or VPN, allows an employee to securely access the business network from anywhere they are able to connect to the Internet.
Network and Internet Connection Security
When you connect your business to a network and with the Internet, security becomes a critical concern. All connected businesses take steps to protect their information through backup systems, network, and data security.
Despite the risks inherent to connecting your business through networks, the benefits greatly outweigh the risks.