Providing enterprise-class solutions for SME needs
By Debbie Hunter, distribution and marketing manager at 3Com SA
Just as their larger counterparts, today`s SMEs also require enterprise-class functionality at cost-effective pricing. However, this doesn`t mean compromising on features in order to offer cheaper products. The needs of SMEs are unique and so should their solutions be.
SMEs also face a number of challenges in order to truly benefit from their IT infrastructures. Topping this list is the ability to effectively link their computers, printers, scanners and other devices into local area networks (LANs). They must be able to, at the very least, connect users to each other and the Internet to access and share applications, e-mail, and other resources.
These businesses also require advanced networking services that enable them to transfer large files, link busy servers and deliver high-bandwidth applications. Again, they need solutions that provide the power and control of large-enterprise systems but without the difficulty.
The bottom line is their networks need to be simple and affordable, but deliver all the competitive advantages of systems used by larger organisations.
Whether for small businesses, branch sites, or home offices, these networks must be:
* Affordable: Solutions should be economical without costly features that small businesses do not need.
* Plug-and-play: Systems should install quickly, simply, and without technical expertise.
* Effortless to operate: The network should provide easy and trouble-free operation.
* Powerful: The LAN should offer the bandwidth to support all applications and needs.
* Reliable - The network should offer rock solid reliability.
Security is also a main concern for SMEs as mission-critical is mission-critical data, regardless of an organisation`s size. Again, these companies need solutions that defend them against increasingly sophisticated threats like viruses, denial-of-service attacks, and network intrusions.
In saying this, most SMEs can`t afford networking security specialists, unlike their larger competitors. To defend themselves, particularly within industries where security standards are mandated, they require solutions that are effective, economical and easy to operate.
Independent tests have, for example, verified that even non-technical staff can install 3Com OfficeConnect solution. The system features robust firewall protection that protects against unauthorised access, denial-of-service attacks, and other common dangers.
The key to addressing the needs of SMEs is to truly understand their needs, offering solutions that are tailored and cost-effective but don`t pale to their more high-end versions.