how to build an IT infrastructure for a small sized business or start-up

January 20th, 2010 by Sebastian Leave a reply »

So you have a great idea with a working business case and want to start the company now? Then you probably think about what IT infrastructure your new company needs for the beginning…

So, I’ve just implemented an IT infrastructure for a small sized company that supports trade between California and Germany. I did that in my spare time and want to share my experiences with you. The first question is:

What do I need?

  • an internet domain (yourcompany.com) for use in web services (your website) and mail services (so that you can have an emailaddress like jdoe@yourcompany.com
  • phone numbers, so that your clients can call you (If you do business in different countries, you might need a phone number in every country, so that your client doesn’t have to think about country codes and high bills.)
  • emailadresses with webaccess and sync to smartphones
  • a place to share files with your colleagues and clients
  • a broadband connection to the internet
  • and finally computers…

So after you know what you need, we can think about how to get that without spending a lot of money or time.

internet domain
An internet domain you can get from different hosters on the internet – choose one in the country you live! Furthermore you should choose a package, that includes the following features:

  • the ability to easily configure subdomains (like mail.yourcompany.com) without any additional costs
  • webspace with at least 1GB of space (because you wanna put documents on your website, that show your expertise)
  • PHP 4.3 or greater, MySQL4.1.2 or greater and the mod_rewrite Apache module should be supported
  • at least one MySQL database
  • the ability to easily configure the MX records of the domain (for configuring your companies email system)

It is a good idea to look for a hoster rating website to choose your hoster. One in Germany is http://www.webhostlist.de/webhosting/top10/webhosting-business.html. Overall you should not spend more than 10 euros (15 usd) a month for that.

emailadresses
Emailadresses and all services around them you can get i.e. with Google Apps – there you will get 25GB of email storage, calendars, contacts, sync with phones and outlook for 40 euros (50 usd) per user a year. And the best thing about is, that you can use your own domain and create emailadresses like info@yourcompany.com or whatever. Just begin the free trial, configure your domain (as it is described in their really good step by step guides) and have it up and running after an hour of some reading and clicking. Did I mention, that you will also get Postini Anti-Spam Services with it ;-) [GApps Features]

phone numbers
To get phone numbers is one of the really easy tasks. Just use skype with a business account. Therefor you have to:

  1. setup a Business Control Panel at http://www.skype.com/intl/en/business/products/business-control-panel/ (you need a usual skype account for that)
  2. create a business account in your new Business Control Panel (BCP)
  3. buy an online number in your BCP and give it to your new business account (keep in mind, that you can’t give an online number to a usual account over the BCP)
  4. now you may add a subscription for a specific country or the world, so that you have a flatrate – most start-ups talk a lot on the phone ;-)
  5. start skype, login with your new business account and set the away message on the answering machine or set a forwarding to your cellphone (keep in mind, that forwarding to a cellphone outside your subscription country will incur additional costs)

Now that you’ve learned how to use the skype BCP it is easy to add more numbers for your new employees.

website and a place to share files
To share files there are thousands of free services on the internet – but You could also use your GApps account to do that ;-)
You also have to build your website, here I recommend the use of wordpress with a minimal theme, which can be customized easily. Websites for HowTos on that topic are:

If you want to share files with your clients through your wordpress based website, I recommend the Wordpress Download Monitor Plugin.

computer and a broadband connection
As a computer you should probably choose a laptop. For the broadband connection you should not use something like UMTS or any other 3G network, because you probably wanna use skype to call phones – therefor you should have something like DSL (but you actually don’t need an ordinary landline anymore ;-) ).

Advertisement

Leave a Reply