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Networking Your Computer Systems

Do you have more than one computer in your office? Chances are you do. Even the small office of two or three people often has a computer at each desk for the sake of efficiency. Yet, if efficiency is your aim, you may not be achieving that goal if you do not have your computers networked together.

Why network? Do you have your office staff moving from computer to computer to complete their tasks? Can accounting information be entered only on computer #1; rental data on computer #2; and if you need to go online to check email, the computer in the back room is the only one set up for Internet access? Why not make all tasks do-able from all computers? Good question.

There may have been reasons you have been hesitant to networking your office computers. A reluctance to having all employees able to access your important files is understandable. Perhaps you prefer to allow only one employee online to check and answer email. Not a problem. Install passwords into the system so workers can access only their assigned files while having all the files accessible from any office computer. Then when the employee who normally sits at the front desk gets a lull in phone calls and walk-ins, she can access the files and enter data without leaving the front desk. When lunch or breaks come, the person who works at the desk in the other room can still work on her assigned tasks and correspondence while covering the front desk.

It saves on time - the worker doesnít have to spend time walking between office computers to finish an assignment.

Itís more efficient - office workers do not have to leave their desk so another worker can use their computer to enter tenant or accounting information on the only computer on which the software is loaded.

It saves on downtime - if one computer isnít working, tasks can easily be completed from another computer station.

Current information - since information is shared by all computers, there is no need to worry whether the information is current on your computer, since all computers are as current as the last update. You can also set up the system to automatically backup files on a regular basis to safeguard your information.

The cost of networking your system depends upon which company you hire. Reputable companies in the Rockford area charge $65-$90 per hour with a minimum service charge. While networking 20-30 computers will cost more than networking 2-3 computers you must overcome the temptation to hire anyone other than a professional even though they may charge less. Ask other business associates which company they have used and if they encountered any problems. Always ask for references and a estimate on costs and the time estimates involved.

Once your system is networked, you will find your office running at a smoother pace. No more chair-hopping is needed. Every employee will have their individual work environment set up to their own optimum work space.

Sources: Gary Lake, CPO Networking Specialist for Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. PH: 815-282-3470

Connie Eccles, Editor and CEO of ComPortOne