2020 tested our agility. Your business was pushed to the brink, and the IT solutions you rely on are in danger of breaking. Any of the following 5 mistakes could push you over the limit:
- Having a help desk, not an IT partner
- Allowing remote work to obliterate cybersecurity
- Storing data, systems and applications on-premise
- Not testing your disaster recovery plan
- Not having internal IT audited with a second set of eyes from outside the organization
We dive into each topic below and share what you should do to prevent the problem from holding back your business in 2021.
Having a Help Desk, Not IT Support
True IT support is more than a number to call when something breaks. When you have an IT partner, they resolve problems but, more importantly, they proactively prevent issues. A help desk is great for the day to day. However, when things get ugly, or you need help growing, you need a trusted partner in the trenches with you rather than just a support hotline. If you have a comprehensive plan from a managed service provider, you create competitive advantages for your business by:
- Aligning your business plan and technology strategy
- Accessing new tools and systems to improve productivity
- Pivoting when the business environment changes
- Securing your working environment
- Monitoring your systems
- Eliminating vulnerabilities and reducing risk
The key to staying on track and on budget
The “latest and greatest” technologies are alluring, but not always necessary. Businesses without an overarching IT strategy run the risk of adding expensive tools they don’t need. A help desk won’t stop you from making unnecessary purchases. They’ll only be there to charge you to fix the system when it breaks.
Allowing Remote Work to Obliterate Cyber Defenses
The pandemic normalized remote work. Now, to attract the best talent, businesses must accommodate employees who want to work remotely. This could mean a home office, the local coffee shop or a vacation rental. This new reality blows holes in your network security and makes it easier for cybercriminals to launch attacks. You shouldn’t have to choose between offering employees benefits they want and securing your business.
Secure IT isn’t always expensive
Simple cybersecurity solutions exist. Focus on what you can control. Here are 4 steps you can take immediately:
- Encrypt your hard drives
- Verify suspicious requests over the phone
- Improve email security with two-factor authentication
- Set and enforce strong password policies
Relying Only on an In-House IT Team to Save Money
A general misconception about outsourced IT is that it’s more expensive than having in-house technicians. When business owners bring this up to us, we ask what costs they compared. Usually, it was an annual salary vs. the cost of working with a managed services provider for a year. This is an incomplete comparison.
You’re leaving out 3 sets of hidden costs
Baseline salaries don’t include benefits, like a retirement plan or healthcare. Eventually, your IT person will want to go on vacation. What will you do if a system malfunctions while they’re out of the office? They deserve a break, but the longer your business is down, the more opportunities you’ll miss.
A single specialist vs. a team of experts
The second cost appears when you realize you have a generalist who can’t manage a particularly deep or complex issue. This isn’t a knock on your employees. It’s impossible for a single person to possess the knowledge of an entire team. At itSynergy, we’ve built out our team to bring in a range of experiences. Need a quick call to reset a password? No problem. How about a seasoned technology and business executive to manage risk and set corporate technology strategy? All are part of our service agreement with your business.
Tools of the IT Trade
A third set of items to consider include the costs to access, update, and troubleshoot all of your line of business IT tools that keep your business running. When you partner with itSynergy, these variable costs are included in your program, which saves you the hassle of managing another variable cost center.
Keeping Data, Applications and Systems On-Premise
2020 definitively proved your business will continue to operate when your team, data, applications and systems are in different locations. Whether you plan to return to the office, work remotely or embrace a hybrid solution, it’s time to consider moving to the cloud.
Yes, a server is cheaper than the cloud, but …
Comparing costs between physical servers and the cloud is like evaluating a single IT tech’s salary vs. the cost of a managed service provider. You can do it, but it won’t be accurate. Accurately pricing a server involves estimating:
- Lifetime maintenance and storage costs
- Financial impacts of downtime
- Monetary, reputational and productivity loses caused by a hack
4 Additional benefits of moving to the cloud
- Reduce chances of downtime by tapping into a global network of data centers
- Reap the rewards of what Microsoft invests in cybersecurity and physical security
- Facilitate remote work for employees
- Never miss an important update – access all your documents and systems on any device
Not Testing Your Disaster Recovery Plan
Part of creating a backup and disaster recovery plan entails setting parameters for how long you can be without your data. Everyone overestimates their threshold for downtime. The mistake can be caught before an actual incident if you run through a test with your IT provider.
Losing access to data is a learning experience
It’s also an exercise you want to experience as part of a simulation – not because you’ve been breached. In tests we conduct with clients, we shut down their servers and have them run through their disaster recovery plan. Every time, we’re able to improve the plan for our clients. They discover a key piece is missing or they don’t have immediate access to a critical document. After the exercise, we make adjustments to capture the new, accurate requirements.
Not everyone learns the lesson in a controlled test environment
Unfortunately, we’ve seen businesses learn this lesson while recovering from a breach. By then, it’s too late to move the goal posts. Your plan will restore systems based on the parameters you initially outlined. If you said 4 days, you can’t change the process 4 hours into an outage.
Get IT Solutions That Evolve with Your Business
How you operate will continue to evolve in 2021, but you need to implement the right solutions if you want to maintain agility and profitability. We can help. Schedule a call and tell us what you want to achieve this year: https://itsynergy.com/contact-us/.