When a company contemplates moving its offices, it must take into account multiple factors, and one of the most often overlooked is the company’s technology infrastructure. “No matter the size of your company, orchestrating a smooth, safe, and secure move of your network takes some thought and effort,” says Page Moon, CTO of Focus Data Solutions (email@example.com). “The goal should be to move in one day and have the network up and running the next day.”
While this might seem a lofty goal, the preparation you do now can help make that goal a reality. Here are a few tips:
Establish an IT plan. The careful thought you put toward the project of moving can save lots of headaches and time, not to mention money. We encourage everyone moving into new office space to work with an IT specialist (whether an internal resource or an external consultant) as well as the space planner and building architect to think through all the stages of the move. Of course, this includes the details of how the system will be built in the new place from the placement of the server closet, the need for any supplemental cooling, and the wiring plan. But it also includes the packing and actual transportation of equipment, as well as the timeline for its set up.
Look ahead for the costs. There are many pieces of the network which need to be considered, not just the internet connection. “Don’t tell me it’s no big deal because you operate your company in the cloud,” warns Moon. “I constantly remind people they must also consider their internal network wiring for printers, phone systems (VOIP or copper), back-up power, and redundant drives when planning for their office relocation.” While detailing the system needs, keep in mind the financial costs of the network, telephone, and IT infrastructure.
Review current technology. Of course, moving to new office space gives the organization a chance to review or even hit the reset button on many elements of the organization’s operations and corporate culture--and technology is certainly one of those. This is a chance to evaluate how your business needs are being met by current configuration and to investigate new systems or programs you can add or change to improve functionality, efficiency, or cost savings. An office move, especially when it is done for reasons of growth, invites the conversation of what will best serve the organization’s future, not just its present. However, be careful about implementing everything at the same time as your move. “Adding new servers or workstations coincident with a move increases the complexity of the project and introduces more room for error. Plan for the enhancements while preparing for the move, but get into the space before you swap out major components,” says Moon.
Assess potential spaces carefully. Prior to signing a lease you should also consider any special needs for internet connection that you might have such as a T1 line or the wish to use a specific vendor. Ask the real estate broker what internet providers currently serve the building you are considering, or call the provider directly to make sure they can meet your specific needs.
Remember security! Right now there is much talk about IT security and the growing need to protect data. Certainly the concerns are legitimate. As you prepare your next move, make sure you have the right system in place to protect corporate data you store. “Your average office wireless system does not respect walls in an office building and for me that is a big security concern,” says Moon.
So, when it is time to relocate your office, remember to establish an IT plan, research new technology, review security protocols, and you will likely get your network back on-line with minimal amount of down time and lost production.
Mike Porterfield (firstname.lastname@example.org) is president of Tartan Properties Commercial Real Estate Services, an independent commercial real estate brokerage and consulting firm based in Alexandria. Founded in 1973, this family business focuses on office, industrial, and flex properties in Northern Virginia.