• United States
Contributing Writer

Saying good-bye

Mar 15, 20063 mins

* Sandy thanks readers for letting her share the challenges and lessons of running a small business and small business network for the past two years

After almost two years, I’ll be signing off as author of this newsletter. Thanks for letting me share with you the challenges and lessons of running a small business and small business network.

I have learned a lot since taking over this column in 2004. Mostly, I’ve been able to apply what I observed in large enterprise IT organizations to the smaller scale of sole proprietorship.

The two have more in common than you’d think. The concerns that plague IT managers at the largest corporations also keep small business owners up at night. For instance, if you don’t have a secure home network, you don’t have a secure business. You need anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-spyware and other protective tools to make sure you can sit down each day and get your work done.

You need to make sure you upgrade and patch your applications in a timely manner. This means being connected to the latest information on viruses and other threats – you can’t go into a bubble when you’re out on your own.

Small networks, like their larger brethren, require a solid back-up and disaster recovery plan. You have to know how to bring your system back if you have network outages or a desktop meltdown. The longer you are out of commission, the less money is going to the bottom line.

Like large enterprise IT organizations, you have to strive to stay middle of the road. Go too cutting edge and you’ve wasted money; too low-tech and you’ll spend all your time catching up. You have to find the happy medium that saves on your two most valuable resources – time and money.

You have to balance your thirst for gadgets with the reality that you will be supporting whatever you bring into the network. Streamlining is critical to focusing on building your business, not increasing your support load.

Finally, corporate assets such as customer information and client communications are as important for small businesses as they are for large ones. Therefore, a great deal of thought should go into choosing tools that help you cultivate, manage, protect and store this data.

This has been a great journey for me and I hope you, as well. In place of this newsletter, you’ll begin to receive Network World’s Small Business Technology newsletter every Thursday, starting March 23. Written by Network World Test Alliance Member James Gaskin, Small Business Technology helps small offices better use technology by providing product reviews, technology insights and buying advice. If you’re already a subscriber to Small Business Technology, don’t worry, you won’t be receiving two copies. We hope you’ll enjoy Small Business Technology. You can change your subscription at any time by clicking here.

Please feel free to e-mail me with any comments or questions.