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Hardware basics for small business computer networks

Small business computer networks are the backbone of nearly all businesses. What are the essential hardware components?

Hardware is the physical, tangible components of technology and computer-related systems. It is the “stuff” that needs to be physically installed or set-up in order to be functional. 

Below are the essential hardware components of a small business computer network:

Primary Computers 

Desktop computers are most often used by small businesses. Computers are a portal to the internet and allow employees to access software applications and websites during the course of their work. Computer can be broken down into the hardware components:

  • Input hardware: Devices used to enter data and commands into the computer. For example, keyboard and mouse.
  • Central Processor Unit (CPU): The part of a computer that processes data entered.
  • Output hardware: Devices that present data, calculations or information. For example, display monitors and screens. 

Internet accessibility devices 

Internet accessibility devices are the hardware that connect computers and other devices to the internet and other networks. Many small businesses do this using a modem and a router. The modem acts as the gateway that connects the router to the internet, while the router connects each device to the modem.

Usually, a firewall is included in an internet router. The firewall protects the network from cyber attacks, for example ransomware, denial-of-service, phishing scams, and many others. The network firewall is the primary line of defense for most small business computer networks.    

Mobile Devices 

Hand-held devices, such as smart phones and tablets, but also encompassing laptops, game consoles, PDAs, media players, pagers, smartwatches.

Supplemental Devices 

Devices attached to small business computer networks to perform a specific function. For example printers, scanners, VPN hardware (to allow secure access to the business network from a remote location) and network hard drives (used for storing data and back-ups).

Be sure to consult with an IT professional before adding to your small business computer network.

Sources

Jack Pittas
Co-founder and president of PK Cyber Solutions Inc.

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