Jan 23, 2012

What considerations do you make when selecting IT systems for a branch-office?

Mobile users. Decentralized workforces. Cloud services. Branch-offices are more and more critical to business success. When outfitting a branch office for IT, what considerations, requirements, etc. do you make in regards to: Infrastructure; Support; Connectivity.

Do you make different decisions than you would for the home office?

--Paul Calento http://bit.ly/c4BJLX


Does corporate have IT support in place? This is truly the place to start, as the answer really depends on their requirements and abilities.


If the answer is no, then the cost of tech support will affect your branch only, which can get expensive in both direct costs and/or man hours.


Possibly more importantly, what are the security policies of your corp office? This may have an impact on how you connect to the public Internet, or a company network.


In keeping it simple though...


Infrastructure: Could you get away with laptops, or will there be a requirement for all computing equipment to remain in the office?


Software: You could consider using cloud-based applications, such as Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365. For a quick read on cloud computing, may I recommend you read the following: What is Cloud Computing


Support: Depends on how corp office is presently handling IT.


Connectivity: In the modern era of computing, wireless connectivity makes it all easy sailing, including connected printers, etc. You could go with broadband service, then use a wireless router within the office. Though again, if it fits within your company's security policies.


Do you really need a server in your branch, or could you all connect to the corporate office? Again, the answer depends on your existing structure.


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