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Guide to Networking Essentials Fifth Edition


Address the needs of a small business network ... rack full of blade servers is overkill for most small businesses, unless their ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Guide to Networking Essentials Fifth Edition

Guide to Networking EssentialsFifth Edition
  • Chapter 11
  • Supporting a Small Business Network

  • Address the needs of a small business network
  • Identify small business network equipment
  • Identify small business application requirements
  • Describe the issues of supporting a small business

Addressing the Needs of Small Business Networks
  • Small business
  • Independently owned and operated
  • Does not dominate its field of operation
  • Revenues of less than 500,000 and/or fewer than
    500 employees

Addressing the Needs of Small Business Networks
  • In this chapter, a small business has
  • Fewer than 200 computers
  • One or two locations
  • Modest technology needs
  • Most small businesses dont require a complex,
    highly restrictive security policy, data
    encryption, or advanced WAN technologies
  • There are exceptions one size does not fit all

Data and Application Sharing in a Small Business
  • Peer-to-peer or server based network?
  • When possible and when funds allow, use a server
  • If you use a peer-to-peer scheme, limit the
    number of computers hosting network resources to
    minimize potential problems
  • Designate as few computers as possible as
    file-sharing computers
  • Each user should have a home directory on the
    server, making backups easier
  • Other users may have read access to each others
    home directory to facilitate file sharing

Data and Application Sharing in a Small Business
  • Typically, one or more common folders that the
    entire company has access to or departmental
    folders shared among members of a department
  • Applications can also be shared across a network
  • Many applications can be installed on a network
    file server and run from workstations

Configuring Simple File Sharing in a Windows XP
Configuring Simple File Sharing in a Windows XP
Network (continued)
Configuring Advanced File Sharing in a Windows XP
Configuring Advanced File Sharing in a Windows XP
Network (continued)
Configuring Advanced File Sharing in a Windows XP
Network (continued)
Sharing Files in a Windows Domain Environment
  • If more than one computer is required to share
    files, using a file server with a centralized
    user database is best
  • In Windows, install a domain controller
  • User accounts only created on the domain
  • Desktop computers/servers become domain members
  • This centralization of accounts vastly simplifies
    resource management when resources are spread
    among two or more computers

Sharing Files in a Linux Environment
Equipment Sharing in a Small Business
  • Printers are usually shared in a network
  • A typical issue in small businesses is sharing
    personal printers attached directly to a users
  • Better connect printer directly to the network
  • Or, use a small network print server box
  • Scanners can also be shared
  • Some scanners come with their own sharing
    software and cant be shared like printers
  • External HDs and card readers can also be shared

Communicating on a Small Business Network
  • Network communication methods
  • E-mail, instant messaging, calendar sharing,
    whiteboard sharing, and video conferencing
  • E-mail in-house systems
  • Microsoft Small Business Server
  • Novells Small Business Suite
  • Linux built-in e-mail server (sendmail)
  • Instant messaging (IM) is a popular application
    because communication happens in real time
  • E.g., Microsoft Messenger, AIM, ICQ, IRC

Equipping Small Business Networks
  • Most advertisements for network equipment are
    aimed at large enterprise network administrators
  • Equipment required for most small businesses is
    considerably more modest
  • A rack full of blade servers is overkill for most
    small businesses, unless their business is Web
  • A typical small business environment might
    consist of one or two servers, some workstations,
    a few switches, and a router to connect to the

Servers and Desktops
  • You may go to small business solution centers
  • When purchasing a server
  • Buy as much HW as the budget allows, to meet the
    estimated needs for the next 2-3 years
  • Memory and storage expansion are critical
  • Look for fault-tolerant storage solutions
  • E.g., use RAID 1 (disk mirroring) on the drives
    containing the OS and applications and RAID 5
    (disk striping with parity) on data drives
  • Business desktop computers emphasize productivity
    software and manageability

Networking Equipment
  • Where should you put the equipment?
  • Most small businesses dont have a large wiring
    closet made especially for the network
  • An existing cabinet can be used with an
    eight-port switch bolted to the wall of the
  • Dont forget to ensure adequate ventilation

Making a Wired Connection
  • Running cable from the back of the computer
    directly to the hub or switch might be tempting
  • Dont! When you move the computer, you might not
    have enough cable slack
  • You should have network jacks at the work area
    wired to a patch panel in the wiring closet
  • Category 5e or 6 cable should be used and tested
  • Preferable to use switches instead of hubs
  • Consider speed, managed/unmanaged, support for
    multiple media types
  • Be sure to keep in mind companys security policy

Making a Wireless Connection
Communicating with the Outside World
  • Even small businesses need to communicate with
    the outside world
  • Besides Internet connections, many businesses
    need employees to access the company network from
    home or while away on business
  • Some issues discussed in this section include
    Internet access, dial-up connections, and virtual
    private network connections

Accessing the Internet
Accessing the Internet (continued)
Accessing the Internet (continued)
Dial-up Remote Access
VPN Remote Access
  • A VPN remote access connection can be made as
    long as both parties are connected to the
  • VPN modes
  • Gateway-to-gateway VPN mode
  • Client-to-gateway VPN mode
  • Some inexpensive VPN routers support either mode
  • Beware, VPN pass-through doesnt create a VPN
  • The number of endpoints or tunnels router
    supports tells how many VPN connections can be

Identifying Requirements for Small Business
  • The application needs of small businesses range
    from ho-hum simple to quirky and complex
  • Not all software is designed to operate over a
    network with multiple users accessing the data
  • Software licensing is also an issue
  • Just because an application has been purchased
    doesnt necessarily mean it can be installed on
    the network or on multiple computers
  • Consult the end user license agreement (EULA)

Small Business Accounting Software
  • A number of accounting or bookkeeping
    applications are tailored to small businesses
  • As a network technician/administrator, your job
    is not to support the function of these
    applications, but to help ensure that the network
    is set up to adequately run them and to be sure
    data is backed up
  • Should the SW be accessible by multiple users?
  • How should access to the application be secured?
  • Older software packages might not integrate with
    Windows well or support networking directly
  • How is the software and its data backed up?

Sales and Contact Management Software
  • Sales and contact management software offers
    features that are way ahead of a rolodex
  • Industry standards Goldmine, Maximizer, and ACT!
  • These packages are customer relationship
    management (CRM)
  • CRM software has support issues similar to
    accounting software

Is Linux a Viable Desktop Alternative to Windows?
  • Consider the total cost of ownership (TCO) and
    application support
  • TCO is the cost including intangibles such as
    support costs and productivity gain or loss
  • In application support, Linux-based Web browsers
    and e-mail clients are more than satisfactory,
    and a number of powerful (and often free) office
    application suites are available (e.g., KOffice,
  • Support for industry-specific applications is
  • There are solutions for running Windows
    applications in Linux (e.g., WINE and VMware)

Supporting a Small Business
  • The job of supporting small businesses can be
    more difficult than supporting a large business
  • Large businesses might have somebody who
    specializes in supporting the network
    infrastructure, another who supports servers, one
    who supports desktop OS, and still another who
    supports specialized applications
  • Small businesses often use a hired consultant
  • This is where you, the entrepreneur, come in

Entrepreneurs Wanted
  • If you decide to specialize in working with small
  • Understand their needs
  • Tell them what technology can do for them
  • Important to know the choices available
    (accounting/CRM software, office suites)

Entrepreneurs Wanted (continued)
  • Understand and respect the way companies do
  • Working with small businesses can be financially
    rewarding and create a sense of achievement
  • First, convince small business owners to place
    their information technology in your hands

Getting the Job
  • Before developing proposal, listen to
  • Talk to owner, manager, people actually using
    the computers, working with customers, etc.
  • Small businesses expect vendors to be customer
  • Be responsive when (potential) customer calls you
  • In the proposal, be detailed about whats
    included in the price you are quoting
  • Provide multiple quotes when appropriate, and
    spell out the advantages of the higher-priced

Securing a Small Business Network
  • Do not neglect security in your proposal
  • Spell out how you plan to secure network and data
  • Determine what type of security will work best
    with the business
  • When discussing a businesss needs, be sure to
    emphasize the trade-offs between an open policy
    and a more secure policy
  • Factor in how this company currently does
    business and whether tight security is even a
    requirement for its business

Passwords and Backup
  • Not all businesses need password policies that
    require frequent changes and complex passwords
  • It is the consultants job to make technology
    work for a business, not against it
  • As long as you explain the ramifications of an
    open security policy, and thats what the
    business wants, you need only carry it out
  • Every business needs backup
  • Process should be clear and concise so that any
    one of the businesss users can do it
  • Can create an image of a hard disk

Security from the Outside World
  • Antivirus and antispyware software are a must for
    any computer with an Internet connection
  • A firewall should be in place for most businesses
    that share a connection to the Internet (e.g.,
  • You may use a software firewall (e.g., Windows
    Firewall) or a router equipped with a firewall
  • For more complete protection, opt for a router
    described as a firewall router
  • If youre running a WLAN, extra care must be
    taken to ensure that outside wardrivers cant
    break into your network and gain free reign of
    its resources

Managing a Small Business Network
  • In managing a small business network, theres
    nothing like personal contact
  • However, sometimes on-site visits are impractical
    or unnecessary
  • Ways to achieve remote access to a network
  • VPN
  • Dial-up
  • Telnet
  • Windows Remote Assistance
  • However remote access to the network is done, it
    must be done securely

  • Most small businesses have modest computer
    network requirements that dont require advanced
    WAN technologies, data encryption, or highly
    restrictive security policies
  • A server-based solution is often the best
    solution, but a peer-to-peer network is an option
  • By default, on Windows XP, file sharing is
  • When enabled, simple file sharing is on by
  • Two most common choices for file sharing in a
    Linux environment are Samba and NFS

Summary (continued)
  • E-mail is the primary communication tool in most
    networks other tools include instant messaging,
    calendar/ whiteboard sharing, and
  • When choosing network equipment, you need to
    decide between a wired and wireless network
  • Internet connection and remote access usually
    require a broadband connection and a router
  • Small business application requirements can range
    from simple and straightforward to very complex

Summary (continued)
  • Common applications small businesses use
  • Office applications (word processor/spreadsheets)
  • Accounting software
  • Sales and contact management SW
  • Working with small businesses requires excellent
    communication skills
  • Remote control options should be considered,
    including Remote Desktop through VPN, dial-up,
    Telnet, and Windows Remote Assistance