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IT is pretty easy to manage when you’re a business of one. The lone entrepreneur doesn’t need to worry about much more than his or her computer and a decent WiFi connection.
But as your business grows and evolves, things get harder. You have more employees with needs of their own, like computers and workstations, phones, hardware, software and systems.
Keep these seven best practices in mind when it comes to navigating IT for your business and you’re going to be in a better place!
7 IT Best Practices
#1: Set the “standard”.
Reducing the complexity in your tech environment should be one of your primary IT focuses. The easiest way to do that is to standardize everything—hardware and software alike. Your whole team should be running on the same system since managing one system is far simpler than managing multiple systems. One operating software, one communication platform, one cloud storage space. Whether you’re handling all of your own technology needs in-house or with an IT partner, simplification and standardization are keys for success.
One operating software, one communication platform, one cloud storage space.
#2: Perform hardware and software updates regularly.
Getting behind on licenses and updates can add up quickly and become an avoidable problem. Software updates and regular configuration review are critical to keeping your data and systems safe. Although software updates can feel like a nuisance, ignoring them can have a much more profound and detrimental impact on your business.
#3: Never assume you’re immune to a cyber attack.
Your antivirus software is only ONE aspect of a sound cyber security strategy. Don’t get complacent with a false sense of security. Keeping yourself and your staff up-to-date on the latest phishing attacks and methods of detecting scams will significantly reduce the chances of falling victim to a cyber attack. If it can happen to some of the biggest companies in the world, it can happen to anyone. Reach out to us if you’re not sure where to start.
#4: Backup your data.
Your data IS your business. You need to backup your data in the event of a hardware or network failure, or even when recovering from a cyber attack. Having redundancy across your infrastructure will help if data becomes inaccessible or is lost. Essentially, you don’t want to have one single point of failure. And this mentality can be implied with your staff as well. As much as you may trust your IT manager, ensure they’re documenting all relevant knowledge somewhere accessible in case of an unforeseen or unfortunate circumstance.
Your data IS your business.
#5: Ask this ONE question first.
Changes to your technology should always start with one question: “How will this impact our business?” Will this new technology reduce risk? Increase productivity? Improve company culture? Improve communication? If implementing new technology is more of a vanity project than anything, it’s likely not worth it. Your decisions around new technology should have a net positive impact on your business, and not simply on the balance sheet. Technology is an investment.
#6: Not every IT solution fits every culture.
You may prefer using Apple or Samsung products, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best hardware for your team. Same goes for workstations and internal communication tools — your team may need to work at home and require laptops or tablets, and they may need a virtual communication tool to better connect when Slack or email doesn’t cut it. Be flexible and consider your team when making IT decisions, while still keeping in mind standardization, security, and the other best practices mentioned.
Technology is an investment.
#7: If it’s taking up valuable time, outsource it.
Your IT is manageable in-house up to a point. But as soon as it starts eating into your valuable time, you need to consider outsourcing it. Whether it’s a portion of your technology you don’t want your team to have to worry about or it’s everything that plugs in, consider the positive impact on your team by focusing exclusively on the things they know and do best. Then, find a partner who can ensure the other 6 best practices above are well executed so your business can move forward faster with confidence.
Whether you’re a lean crew of 5 or have a buzzing office of 325, these best practices will be helpful with navigating your IT concerns.
But if you still need some additional help figuring out this whole world of IT, give us a call. Or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.