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Planning or revamping your office’s IT setup

So, you’re moving into a new office (or rejigging your current one). Congratulations! But don’t get too distracted by choosing the carpet colour, and deciding if the walls will be plastered with landscape images, inspirational quotes, or abstract art. The most important part of a new office setup is the IT.

One of the hardest aspects of any IT change is tinkering with systems while letting users get on with their jobs. Luckily for you, an office move gives you a rare and wonderful opportunity to sort out your IT while the wheels aren’t turning.

Decisions, decisions…

As with any IT overhaul, you have some crucial decisions to make. The odds are that tech has moved on since your last move, so even seemingly obvious assumptions like ‘we need to move our servers to the new office’ may be flawed due to new cloud-based alternatives.

Cloud vs. local resources

The biggest decision you face is which software and infrastructure you should run locally, and which would be better in the Cloud.

The three broad categories of cloud technology are: SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service):

  • SaaS is the ‘highest level’ of cloud technology, and entails remotely hosted software. Users only need an internet connection and web browser to access its functionality – no locally installed software or servers needed. Examples include Google Apps and Microsoft Office Online.
  • IaaS is the ‘lowest level’ of cloud technology, which essentially replaces in-house servers with remote cloud servers. You’re still responsible for installing operating systems and server admin, but you don’t need to physically look after them. It’s much more flexible (or ‘elastic’) than physical servers, as you pay based upon usage, and can dynamically obtain more storage and processing capability as and when you need it.
  • PaaS is somewhere in the middle – essentially remotely hosted servers, but with low level stuff like OS and server admin done for you, so you just configure the particular applications and environment you want.

If opening a brand new office, the ideal solution is probably to have as much of your IT in the Cloud as possible. Alternatively, if you’re just moving office, you will need to determine which currently-local services should be migrated to the cloud.

BYOD vs. company equipment

Bring Your Own Device is a growing trend to allow employees to use their own devices (typically PCs and tablets) in the office. The advantages are that employees get to use equipment they’re already comfortable with, whilst you spend less on hardware. The challenges of BYOD include a lack of consistency, reliability, and, above all, security.

BYOD as a policy needs to be implemented and regulated properly, rather than just casually inviting everyone to bring in their laptops and hook up to the company Wi-Fi.

Data connectivity

Our previous blog piece considers the pros and cons of the various internet connectivity options for your business. These range from home-style broadband, through to dedicated fibre leased lines. Changing your provider when you move, and finding the perfect solution for your business, gives you the speed and reliability you need, without overspending.

Training isn’t just for Rio

It’s easy to forget, but with all these exciting new tools and changes to established ways of working, you’ll need to train up your staff to use them effectively – if you don’t, you can expect lots of head-butting of walls, and hideous Excel-based workarounds.

At Control Esc, we can help guide you through all these important decisions, and ensure that your new workspace is super-productive from day one. Call us on 02071003650 for an initial discussion.

 

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