The Perfect Office Setup

Tips & Hints

29 August 2002

Investing in the right office equipment pays good dividends

We once visited a business that rebooted all their computers whenever they printed a document. When someone announced they were about to print, the other five would turn off their computers, take a break and turn them back on when the printing was finished. They thought this was normal and did it a dozen times a day.

Many business don’t realise how much a poorly set up network costs them. A computer that crashes once a day will cost a business over a thousand dollars a year in lost time. This doesn’t include lost files, damaged data and the other problems a badly run system encounters.

Having the computers properly set up is an important part of getting it right, but it isn’t the whole story. Like anything, getting the right tools for the job makes the job easier. The perfect office network would have the following.


It is essential to get the right cable properly installed. Cabling problems are one of the most difficult problems to diagnose. If you’re running cables along floors make sure you get good quality cable. Get a licensed electrician to run cables through wall and ceilings.


If you have more than five computers you must have a dedicated server. This should be running a network operating system like Windows 2000, Linux or Netware. A server should have a good quality network card and a big, fast hard drive. It shouldn’t be used by staff for day-to-day work and must not be connected directly to the Internet. Expect to pay at least $5,000 for a properly equipped server.


Regardless of the size of your business, you must backup important data. For most businesses a backup tape is the best option, although there are plenty of alternatives. Regardless of what backup you use, it must be kept off-site. Backup tape units cost around $1200 including tape, but can be included in a new server.

Power Protection

Power problems can range from a catastrophic power surge that blows up all your electronic equipment through to subtle changes in supply that cause havoc with your data. A surge-protected power strip will protect your computer from a one-off power surge but we recommend a UPS to really protect your computer. A power strip costs between $20 and $100, a UPS costs $200 and has the added advantage of giving you time to shut down in a black-out.

Centralised Anti-Virus software

Anti-virus software is essential to any computer user. A centralised anti-virus program makes sure each machine is up-to-date and protected. Expect to pay $700 to protect 5 computers.

Laser printer

If you print more than ten pages a day then you should have a laser printer. The initial cost of a laser is offset by much cheaper running costs compared to inkjet printers. The only exceptions are if you really need colour printers or A3 printing. A good workgroup printer will cost around $1000.

Print servers.

A print server allows printers to run independently of the computers. Expect to pay around $250 for a single port print server. Many workgroup printers can have a network card added for a similar price.

Router for Internet access

The simplest and safest way to share Internet access is through a router. Routers plug into your network and direct appropriate traffic to the Internet. A router will cost from $300, depending on the features.

Having the right tools for the job makes your job easier. The whole point of computers is to help your business. While these extras cost more, the increased productivity and reliability of your computer systems is well worth the investment.

PC Rescue Pty Ltd
Suite 236, 4 Young Street Neutral Bay NSW 2089
ABN 082 635 765
ŠTechnology Publishing Australia, 2011