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How to Manage IT Across Multi-Location Businesses

Managing IT for businesses with multiple locations is a balancing act. Each location has unique personnel and needs, and miscommunications, network differences, and disparate technologies can make it hard to run an efficient system. Follow these steps to overcome challenges and run a consistently reliable IT operation for your multi-location business.

Plan, Plan—Then Plan Some More

If you’re in the process of expanding, the more planning you do, the better. Your plan serves as your digital infrastructure roadmap. For this reason, your plan should be more than an “in-house” document. It’s a good idea to disseminate it to all stakeholders it may impact. They can use it to guide decisions that may depend on or impact your IT environment.

Your plan should include:

  • Unique networking requirements.
  • The IT goals of your new location, including benchmarks regarding issue resolution, bandwidth management, and other daily tasks.
  • The budgetary restrictions that impact the additional location.
  • Systems and practices that work well and are worth duplicating at your next location.

Use Consistent Policies Across Your Locations

Your overall policies and procedures should be the same across all locations. This is true even if the business objectives of each location are different. For instance, a fulfillment center would have the same general IT policies as a retail outlet. Some policies that should align include:

  • Data management and privacy standards.
  • Identity and access management procedures.
  • Password management and other cyber hygiene requirements.
  • IT culture considerations, such as providing excellent service, supporting new users with training, and rewarding innovative thinking on the IT team.

Optimize Your Network Performance With SD-WAN

Using SD-WAN, you can manage network traffic across your entire IT ecosystem. Unlike traditional networks, an SD-WAN is smart in that it can adapt to the changing traffic requirements or conditions of a multi-site business. You can also adjust how your network functions to meet short-term needs, such as optimizing the bandwidth of a videoconferencing session for a company-wide meeting. An SD-WAN solution gives you the ability to:

  • Automate how certain types of network traffic are handled, such as videoconferencing, financial transactions, or other latency-sensitive operations.
  • Establish and enforce company-wide security protocols regarding potentially malicious traffic.
  • Monitor and control your entire network, making improvements when you notice performance issues.

Leverage Cloud Communications

When you have a multi-location business, using a traditional landline or PBX solution can be inefficient and inconvenient. It can also be costly—both to establish and maintain. With a cloud communications system, you get a flexible, scalable system that can incorporate:

  • Calling
  • Messaging
  • Video conferencing
  • Voice conferencing
  • SIP trunking
  • Call center solutions
  • Virtual fax services

In other words, you have a centralized communication system that supports your growth.

Invest in RMM

Remote monitoring and management (RMM) makes it easier to manage and secure endpoint devices in any location in your digital environment. An RMM solution can facilitate locating, updating, and monitoring devices remotely, saving your onsite teams valuable time. With an RMM system, you also have access to experts who understand what to look for to identify potential cyber threats and let you know when there’s cause for concern.

Prioritize Cybersecurity

A complex, expansive IT infrastructure can introduce vulnerabilities hackers could target. By making cybersecurity a priority, you can build stronger networks that support both data security and productivity.

For many busy IT leaders, prioritizing cybersecurity is easier with a managed security services provider. By relying on experienced cybersecurity pros, you can benefit from both their expertise and the latest technologies they use to keep your devices and data safe. A managed security provider can offer a wide range of solutions, often including:

  • Endpoint security
  • Threat detection and response
  • Firewalls
  • Security awareness training
  • Security advisory services
  • Disaster recovery and backup

Enable an Effective Multi-location IT Solution With TPx

TPx can provide expert managed IT across your multi-location business. With TPx, get access to the services and solutions your business needs to thrive and scale, as well as teams of professionals who truly understand your business needs. Schedule a free consultation today.

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