How to Ensure a Proper Home for IT Equipment in a Small Business Environment
In the day to day scramble of running a small business, it’s difficult to anticipate every requirement. Perhaps that’s why we so often see offices with IT equipment stashed in the corner of an open office space or stacked on a bookshelf in the utility closet.
IT is no less important for a small business than it is a large enterprise; your business relies on it for everything from accounting to email and sales. But when equipment is jammed into small rooms or shared closets, or left out in the open on the office floor, it is susceptible to all sorts of problems that are wholly avoidable, such as:
- A cleaning person unplugs a server to plug in a vacuum cleaner
- An IT admin accidentally unplugs the wrong server amid the rat’s nest of wires
- IT equipment goes down during an outage, because the UPS has been signaling for weeks that it needs a new battery but nobody could see it
- Temperatures in the room routinely get too high, causing equipment failures and reboots
The good news is, options abound for the proper installation of IT equipment, even if you don’t have a state-of-the-art server room to house it.
Let’s start with closet solutions. The key consideration here s that the equipment is properly installed on a rack or enclosure that’s meant to hold IT gear. That means it has a place for all those wires to go and it’s easy for IT to access equipment when needed. These racks also ensure the gear is properly separated for ventilation. But depending on the temperature and configuration of the room, that may not be enough to guarantee your equipment won’t overheat. In some cases, you may need to install a simple vent in the wall to let hot air escape, or for warmer environments, an air conditioning unit may be required.
You also need a proper place for your power distribution units and UPS devices, positioned such that you can easily see those blinking lights that indicate maintenance is required. Enclosures such as the APC by Schneider Electric NetShelter SX fit the bill on that front.
In some situations, IT gear must live in the main office area. But it shouldn’t be left out in the open where it’s subject to accidental disruptions (or worse). Instead, look for a self-contained enclosure that’s made to blend in with an office environment.
The APC by Schneider Electric NetShelter CX, for example, fits into normal office décor and has racks to hold IT equipment, with removable panels so that IT can easily get at it when need be. A built-in fan keeps the gear cool while soundproofing material ensures workers remain undisturbed. And multiple security options are available, from a simple key to a proximity card.
No matter which route you choose, the important thing is your IT equipment will have a proper home, away from those who may inadvertently do harm. And authorized IT personnel will have a far easier time doing their job when all equipment is neatly in its place and they have easy access.
To learn more about how to properly house IT gear, check out the free APC by Schneider Electric whitepaper, “Practical Options for Deploying IT Equipment in Small Server Rooms and Branch Offices.”