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When I started in IT support, most office networks consisted of a server room, some desktop computers, and maybe a few printers and scanners. This meant the default 192.168.1.X range was enough for more than a hundred staff. That’s far larger than most businesses ever grow.

Today’s networks need to handle smartphones, tablets, VoIP handsets, VPN connections and even the coffee machine. There’s a whole wave of wearables and IoT devices that still haven’t hit the average main street business. Even the IP addressing space fills up a lot faster. And IPv6 still isn’t quite everywhere yet.

You can solve this problem before it happens with an IP addressing scheme that can grow. The sooner you do this, the easier it is to implement.

Communication is still king

The default mode for most IT people is that, once you’ve sorted the hardware and software, you’ve done your job. And with enterprises, it’s usually less hassle for everyone if you just stay in your lane. But small businesses often don’t know everything they need to, and they’ve only got you, the MSP, to tell them.

For example, if let’s look at security. If you’ve hashed and salted the password file, configured network permissions, applied patches and so on, you might feel like you’ve kept up your end of the bargain.

But how secure is this really if one of the managers is reusing his login details on unencrypted websites, has never heard of spear phishing, and saves crucial documents on the local hard drive instead of the file server? What should scare each and every one of us is that we are totally at the mercy of the client for the success of our work. The only way to deal with this one is to put your big boy boots on and show some leadership.

This doesn’t have to be a huge time suck. However, you need to share enough information with them to help them understand technology best practices. Take the time to communicate the value of practicing good cybersecurity habits and point them in the direction of helpful resources.

It’s all about getting results

Local businesses tend to have simpler IT needs, but a lack of in-house IT skills and chaotic, unplanned infrastructure can make the work more difficult. Compared to working in an enterprise role, local business customers really benefit from someone who can step up and take control. In return, you get to work with a lot of clever and motivated people from all walks of life.

Photo: Raw Pixel / Shutterstock

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Grant Hamono

Posted by Grant Hamono

Grant Hamono has been running networks and servers since 2001 for businesses and educational institutions of all sizes. He now leads DXM Tech Support, a provider of IT support services to small businesses in Melbourne, Australia

One Comment

  1. Hi,

    Nice article, thanks. Reminds us that we need to do this more readily ie. Educate end users. You haven’t got a deliverable check list of recommended training actions / take home sheet for the customer outlining certain best practices here such as ‘not to save files to desktop’ etc thatbyoh are willing to share have you? We’re based overseas although originally from your neck of the woods.



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