Just because you're a micro business doesn't mean you should settle with a substandard network! Businesses of all sizes need a solid network to keep their operations running smoothly, stay connected, and protect themselves from cybercrime.
In particular, if you're still running your business off home networking hardware, you would do well to upgrade to more substantial equipment. These days, entry-level business-grade networking equipment is only slightly more expensive than consumer-grade gear while offering far more functionality and protection.
There are plenty of ways to build a network, but here is some of the hardware we tend to recommend for startups and micro businesses.
1. Meraki Go
Meraki is the industry's leader in cloud-based easily-configured WiFi networking, with an emphasis on simplifying every aspect of network administration. Meraki Go is specifically designed for the needs of smaller businesses. The streamlined configuration system allows you to get up and going in just a few minutes, and the hardware is priced below $200 - while still delivering lightning fast speeds.
Meraki Go is a near-perfect solution for starting off your network with business-grade hardware, but with the simplicity and low cost you need as a small operation.
2. A Firewall \ Security Appliance
While many WiFi routers have some very low level built in stateful firewall protections, we strongly recommend having a dedicated hardware security system as well. You are still at risk of cybercrime and intrusion as a micro business, particularly when so much illegal activity centers around bots and other automated systems. A ransomware infection doesn't care that you're a micro business - it will encrypt and lock down your files regardless.
One affordable solution that pairs well with Meraki Go is the Meraki Z3 security appliance. It's a highly robust all-in-one box that can also be used for remote access, as well as providing Ethernet support. Or if you only wanted a dedicated stay-in-one-place firewall, the FortiNet FortiGate 30E would be a great choice or a Sophos XG Firewall.
3. VoIP \ Unified Communications
Voice-over-IP service is a must-have for any small business, since that eliminates long distance bills and gives you an affordable alternative to relying on cell phones for your telephone calls. Unified Communications is what you get when your VoIP, network hardware, and telephones are all designed to work in conjunction.
For a small business, there's no need to get more than basic telephones at first. Both Cisco and Polycom offer excellent entry-level VoIP phones. You can upgrade to fancier features like videoconferencing later on.
4. Vulnerability Asessments
The three types of hardware listed above will be enough to give you a good functional foundation for your business network to grow from. However, simply having good hardware doesn't necessarily mean you have good network security.
So once everything is set up, we recommend getting a professional security assessment. With this, a professional security consultant will take a look over your setup, and recommend any changes that will help improve security. If you do a lot of work with web applications, this could also be supplemented with a web app security assessment, which ensures you can't be breached by way of your website or cloud applications.
Hummingbird Gets You Up And Running For Less
We want to put high-quality networking gear in the hands of businesses of all sizes, not just large businesses. One of our specialties is creating affordable networks for micro businesses and SMBs, remaining conscious of your budget limitations. To learn more about our services, or receive a consultation on your options in entry-level networking hardware, just contact us!