As much as IT can do for you, it can quickly get complicated and problematic. Do you know what the common points of failure for IT are? More importantly, do you know how to mitigate them?
IT – and really, any technology inside or out of the business world – can be a double-edged sword. The right technology can make your work life easier and simplify tasks.
But when it’s not working right, IT can become a nightmare, slowing you down at every step in your daily business processes and stressing you out.
Just a couple years ago, small businesses with up to 50 million in annual revenue reported that just a single hour of downtime cost them $8,600.
The main cost of downtime is not the fix itself, it’s the halt in your productivity. If an IT-related or natural disaster occurs and takes critical systems offline, employees will be unable to complete their tasks, yet your normal business expenses will carry on.
During that time, you incur all the expenses of running a business without the revenue you would usually generate.
Even if downtime does not grind everything to a halt, some of your staff will have to divert themselves from their normal work to mitigate the problem – again reducing productivity. Furthermore, while your systems are down, you can’t deliver services or sell products to current and potential new clients.
Not all of the costs associated with downtime have a tangible price tag. The trust of your clients and the reputation of your company are invaluable assets that can erode with prolonged or frequent downtime issues. A diminished reputation can negatively affect your future business opportunities.
Some downtime is inevitable, but much of it can be prevented and mitigated.
Consider these best practices for promoting system uptime and avoiding the costs of downtime:
Maintain Your Infrastructure
All IT support needs to include basic server maintenance, network administration, storage maintenance, and typical network issues.
Whether you’re handling it in-house or having an IT company manage it for you, support has to cover the maintenance of your hardware and overall infrastructure. Failure to do so will quickly lead to lagging servers and outright hardware failure.
Implement Comprehensive Cybersecurity
Perhaps more than any other IT service that you could have managed, security is likely the most valuable. Unlike printers or communications, security requires ongoing monitoring and maintenance, all of which can best be delivered as a managed function.
Standard cybersecurity services should include 24/7 monitoring and management of firewalls and intrusion detection systems. Your IT company will also respond to emergencies, performs security assessments and security audits, oversees patch management and upgrades.
Their processes must include:
Plan For The Future
As your business grows, your IT needs grow as well. If you’re “flying by the seat of your pants”, then do you really think that your IT will keep up with your business?
It all starts with a plan. Your business, and the technical infrastructure it relies on have to be ready to grow when needed. This means software, hardware, and anything else you use to get work done.
Keep in mind that new service offerings often come with significant upgrades or new software. An IT company should be able to provide the flexibility you need to change your products/services or add new ones when required.
Keep Your Data Backed Up
The best way to protect against data loss is to implement and regularly test a cloud backup solution.
The fact is that redundancy is the key to a solid data backup plan. There are two main types of backup solutions; onsite and offsite. The only truly reliable protection against cybercrime and human error are cloud backups.
In fact, the world is catching on to how effective cloud backup really is. According to Acronis’ 2019 World Backup Day Survey, 48.3% of surveyed businesses already use a cloud-based backup exclusively, and an additional 26.8% use a combination of cloud and onsite backup.
You may know that it’s important to back up your data, but knowing something and actually doing it are two different things, right? As with everything else on this list, either you need to do them, or you need to let someone do it for you – via Managed Services.
Monitor Your Network
Every part of your IT system, including your network, needs to be watched over. This can mean installing monitoring solutions and reviewing critical logs. Control plays a critical role, especially when you consider how network vulnerabilities can disrupt your network.
Like so many others, you can have your IT company monitoring every area of your system. However, you’ll want to ask them if they cover mobile devices, virtual machines, and remote users. Network monitoring must also include intrusion detection and prevention, along with firewall control and configuration.
Harness The Power Of The Cloud
Over the past decade, the cloud has rapidly become one of the most integral technologies in modern society. Both for private consumers and business purposes, the cloud has offered a range of benefits, from convenient access to data to cost-savings in hardware reduction.
Put simply – the cloud has changed the nature of IT, and business as a whole – bit what does that mean for you?
The cloud offers you a range of benefits:
However, maybe you’re hesitant to migrate. To be honest, we don’t blame you. Migration is the process of moving some or all of your data and applications into the cloud (that is, to a data center or a cloud-based infrastructure provided by a cloud service provider such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure).
You can choose to move some of your applications, or your total organizational infrastructure where all of your computing, software, storage, and platform services are transferred to the cloud for any time, anywhere access.
Although it’s possible you could manage a cloud migration on your own, it’s not recommended. More and more clients we work with are having us move power apps and data into the cloud. Why? Because as you can see, the business case is compelling. Using the cloud increases agility, scalability, accessibility, security and provides a competitive advantage.
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