One of the most common indicators of a successful business is having satellite offices. As a company grows, it needs new locations for expansions while still consolidating operations. For most organizations, that means centralizing all computing resources while keeping remote offices connected to back-end business processes.
The best way to do extend IT support across many locations is by hiring a managed IT service provider. Centralizing IT resources is more cost-effective and efficient compared to maintaining separate computer infrastructures. This means offering secure connections to remote locations with the help of an MSP.
Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
VPNs offer secure connections between different locations over the public internet. Aside from being less expensive, VPNs offer a secure site-to-site connection and are usually much faster than WANs. A single leased line is enough for each location to have internet access, while the secure connection can be managed by using a designated software.
With a VPN link, it’s much easier to transfer data before storing it on a single server where it will be processed and backed-up. For instance, receipts for the day can be sent by one retail location to the main office where it will go through an accounting software. To generate a shipping order, orders placed at remote locations can easily be directed to the warehouse. This offers a cost-effective solution for many businesses regardless of the size.
Centralized Data Access
Apart from using a VPN strategy, it’s a good idea to use a centralized repository for data that are not business-critical or that has to be remotely accessed. More organizations are adopting cloud-computing solutions–whether they are leasing private cloud services from a managed IT service provider or utilizing open-cloud platforms like Google Docs.
For small to medium enterprises, cloud storage has a lot of other benefits. An example would be the protection against sudden power or service loss. If there is no power or internet in one office, the data are still accessible and secure. Even if services are down in one particular location, other branches can still access important resources through the cloud.
It’s worth noting that despite its many benefits, cloud services also come with risks. Data access and security can be a problem for your business. If, for instance, you are in a highly-regulated business (i.e. financial sector), it may be required to know the physical location of your data for proper compliance.
Despite a few drawbacks, cloud computing simplifies IT management between locations–saving you lots of money in the process.
Over the past few years, companies have become more familiar with managed IT services. Incorporating several locations into one network infrastructure isn’t difficult as long as you take routine precautions. These include making sure that you can easily access your data, which should be secure at all times, as well as checking if you have resources available to troubleshoot any problems with the network.
Once you have multiple locations linked to your centralized IT network, adding more locations will be much simpler as your business expands.