If you have a remote branch office, a recent article for Small Biz Technology by Ramon Ray, the site’s founder, editor and technology evangelist, is well worth reading because you are probably facing a number of challenges where technology can help you. Hence and for the article, Ramon spoke with Rob Ciampa, the Vice President of Marketing at Marathon Technologies, who noted that there are five things that you can do to ensure that at least things on the technical side run smoothly. These things included:

  1.  Ensure Fast, Secure Networks. If you have a small branch office, having secure internal and external networks will be essential for effectively managing any business-critical applications from anywhere in the world. Hence, ensuring that all security features are properly configured and a firewall is securely in place will pay off in the long-term.
  2.  Keep your Wireless Secured. Moreover, any remote workers will likely be using wireless connections with their mobile devices. Hence, it will be important to ensure that wireless access is both secure and password protected with frequent password changes.
  3.  Build an Intranet. Having a companywide intranet is a great way for employees to communicate and share information across all offices plus help to establish a greater sense of community for all employees.
  4.  Automate Configuration Management. If your branch office does not have an onsite IT administrator on staff, then it will be necessary to ensure that you have software that can automate and simplify the management of remote servers and printers. Moreover, automated network configuration management tools will save time and reduce the chances for human errors.
  5.  Protect the Remote Data. A branch office will still need to be outfitted with the appropriate technologies that can protect critical data. Hence, it will be important to take any remote branch location into consideration when allocating both monetary and technology resources.
  6.  Don’t Overlook Remote Availability. Application availability for branch and remote locations is imperative as you will need to ensure that these offices stay up and running. Moreover, these other locations should be in the position to operate at the same level as your headquarters – especially if something were to happen that temporarily shuts down your headquarters.

Ramon ended his post by noting that you should also consider a desktop video conferencing system for all employees so that everyone can instantly connect with each other. Moreover and if your budget is large enough, you could even consider a hi-definition video conference system that will make it appear that you branch office employees are actually with you in your main office.