Upgrading an enterprise network is not nearly as simple as it used to be. Once upon a time, you could take different components and fit them together in a piecemeal fashion, but now networks have become much more complex. Planning is not only recommended for network upgrades, but is absolutely essential. Here are some aspects to consider.
Map Your Current Network
Before you can even figure out what your upgrade needs might be, you need to know what you currently have in networking capacity and capability. Making a map of your network with hardware or making sure an existing map is fully updated is an important first step in figuring out what upgrades to make.
Identify High Usage Areas
Looking at your usage logs before upgrading will show you where there are bottlenecks and high usage areas that may need more resources installed in those locations. If these bottlenecks are not addressed in the upgrade process, the same problems will occur as before. It only makes sense to add these problem areas into the upgrade process rather than let them continue without a remedy.
Consider Current and Future Needs
Of course, you're going to start with your current enterprise needs, but not considering how your company expects to grow will lead to a short-sighted solution that you may quickly outgrow. Your company's growth goals and previous patterns of growth are places to start. If your company doesn't already have computer models to forecast growth over the next five to ten years, these models are increasingly easy to access and may give your planners a better idea of what your needs might be in the future.
Decide on BYOD Policies Before Upgrading
Many employees have begun to bring their own devices to use at work, but BYOD can cause problems including incompatibility with the network's hardware and software and network security issues. BYOD can be used as part of your network and can save companies a great deal of money, but you should put policies in place to govern how BYOD devices can be used so you can address security issues through the upgrade process.
If you don't already use subnets to partition your network, you should investigate the benefits of doing so. Subnets can even out the use of your network by assigning certain users to each one. They can also help to limit user access to parts of the network and make remote access easier to control and facilitate. Subnets should be part of any enterprise network, whether or not they are already in use by a company.
Build in Scalability
Your best planning indicates that your growth over the next five years will be small, but the truth is, nobody really knows for sure what the growth potential of a business might be. If your upgrade builds in the ability to scale up dramatically, you will be ready for any eventuality. If your business manages to attract media attention or gains a huge new client that doubles or quadruples your current business, you can scale up your network to accommodate these needs instead of having to start all over from scratch (which can cost you precious time as well as money).
Maybe the idea of all this planning seems overwhelming. GDH offers help with all the stages of an enterprise network upgrade, from planning the upgrade to maintaining the new network. Contact us for more information on our services and how we can help your company with all its IT infrastructure needs.