Oct 11 2023

Why SMBs Need Enterprise-Grade Networking Technology

Routers, switches and similar tech are critical business tools.

Small and midsize businesses account for half of the $370 billion spent on business technology every year. And in 2021, SMBs spent $42 billion on devices — twice as much as enterprises.

In part, this technology spending helps offset staffing challenges. With many SMBs struggling to recruit and retain experienced IT professionals, the right tools can help automate processes and improve performance.

Smart technology investments also set the stage for business growth. For example, by opting for enterprise-grade networking equipment, SMBs are not only prepared to handle current bandwidth demands but can also capitalize on new business opportunities.

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Eight Benefits of Enterprise-Grade Network Technology

While SMBs sometimes think consumer-grade networking equipment is sufficient for them, enterprise-grade technology offers key advantages, including:

  1. Performance and reliability. Enterprise-grade tools are designed to handle higher load volumes and traffic throughput than their consumer-grade counterparts without performance degradation. For small businesses that rely heavily on network traffic — such as e-commerce businesses moving into global markets — these tools are essential to ensure smooth operations.
  2. Many consumer-grade network products are designed as stand-alone solutions. Once they reach capacity, these tools must be removed and replaced. Enterprise equipment is typically designed to scale, allowing businesses to easily add new devices or services without a major overhaul.
  3. Features such as intrusion detection and prevention systems, advanced firewalls and encrypted communication often come standard with enterprise technology. With over 40 percent of cyberattacks now targeting small businesses, better security is well worth the money.
  4. Centralized management. The central management consoles offered by enterprise networking solutions let SMBs manage, monitor and control networks from a single interface. This makes it easier for businesses to pinpoint potential problems and respond as soon as possible.
  5. Lifecycle and support. Because enterprise tools are built to handle large traffic volumes and bandwidths, they typically feature longer life spans and better manufacturer support. This reduces the frequency — and cost — of equipment replacement and lets companies get help when they need it.
  6. Traffic handling. Growing SMBs may face large traffic demands tied to resource-intensive applications or expanding user bases. Enterprise-grade technology is designed to handle significant and simultaneous traffic throughput.
  7. Virtualization and cloud integration. With many SMBs now implementing both cloud and virtualization services, it’s worth deploying technology capable of streamlined integration. While consumer-grade tools may support basic cloud connections, enterprise alternatives can help build truly multicloud environments.
  8. Long-term cost management. Enterprise-grade solutions are more costly up front than consumer technologies. Over time, however, the benefits often outpace the costs. For example, because enterprise solutions are designed to handle higher traffic volumes for sustained periods, they require fewer repairs and replacements. The result? Improved ROI.

DISCOVER: Find out why SD-WAN networks offer greater agility and performance.

How To Successfully Embrace Enterprise Architecture

Two factors are critical for SMBs making the move to enterprise architecture.

First is the need for small businesses to assess their existing environments and pinpoint needed improvements. While enterprise-grade solutions provide more power and flexibility than their consumer counterparts, they also come with larger price tags. As a result, SMBs must consider their current needs, budgets and growth plans to ensure investments match expectations.

Next is the technology itself. With vendor and solution choices rapidly expanding, SMBs can benefit from partnerships with industry-leading suppliers such as Cisco Meraki, Aruba and Extreme Networks. CDW’s Amplified™ Services are designed to help small businesses create customized tool and technology environments that deliver enterprise performance at an SMB price point.

This article is part of BizTech's AgilITy blog series. Please join the discussion on X (formerly Twitter).


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