3 IT Investments You Should Never Skimp On
There’s a disturbing trend underlying the business world’s increased reliance on technology. It’s true that the internet age has empowered companies of all sizes to do incredible things and that technology is forever transforming the way we do business. However, today’s savvy businesses are intertwined to an unprecedented extent with the technology they use.
There’s a problem that goes along with this increased dependence. Despite the inseparable relationship today’s companies have with IT, the vast majority of them—small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in particular—are neglecting key aspects of their tech. They’re skimping where they shouldn’t and cutting corners wherever possible. This leaves them open to a huge variety of potential disasters and missed opportunities.
To avoid the pitfalls of our technology-dependent world, it’s important to ensure you have a firm IT foundation. Here are three IT investments where you should avoid underspending.
#1: CYBER SECURITY
Across the tech industry, it has practically become trendy to point out how woefully underprepared SMBs are for modern crime. But it’s true: according to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 58% of cyberattack victims were small businesses (fewer than 250 employees).
It’s a rising statistic that shows no sign of slowing down. Most small business owners assume that since they’re the “little guy,” a well-equipped and highly trained team of hackers would never target their meager stores of data. But these hapless businesses are, in fact, the low-hanging fruit for these operations. Millions upon millions of dollars are stolen from SMBs each year, and most of it is gleaned via vicious ransomware.
For this reason, it’s important to shore up your defenses. This means IT investments in top-notch firewalls, anti-virus and data backup and restoration systems. You should also consider a phishing education service to train your staff on spotting emails that might introduce ransomware or other malicious programs. Prices for these programs are fairly reasonable—especially when compared to the costs of lost data, a halt in your operations and ransom payments to get your files back.
#2: PROACTIVE TECH SUPPORT
While a vicious cyberattack could leave your business reeling, there are other equally insidious risks that could cost your business big time. Consider server failure, for example. No matter the caliber of equipment you use, failure is an inevitable risk of technology.
Instead of being proactive, however, many business owners just assume that downtime is a fact of the modern world. As a result, businesses lose an average of over 14 hours per year to IT downtime (according to a report by ERS IT Solutions). That’s nearly two full workdays of lost productivity each year.
And that’s only one example. Finicky software, stuttering computers and lost backups may seem like small issues until you’re in the midst of disaster and the costs are adding up. The worst part… the vast majority of these outages are avoidable with proper care and attention to your network.
The fact is that a cheap “break-fix” technician is only there to put out fires, not proactively prepare your business for success. By the time he or she shows up on the scene, the damage will already be done. This results in dramatically lowered efficiency and potentially thousands of dollars in lost sales or staff productivity—not to mention the cost of all those customers you lost while you were off dealing with a tech crisis.
It’s better to avoid these catastrophes in the first place. Hire an experienced and qualified service provider with the resources to truly take care of your network. When you pit the increased spending against the money you lose due to excessive downtime, IT investments like this one should be a no-brainer.
#3: TECH STRATEGIES TO BEAT THE COMPETITION
Technology isn’t just a crutch we use to make navigating the marketplace easier; it can equip us with tools that help us actively surpass customer expectations and streamline our efficiency. From customer relationship management software to programs that automate everyday operations, the possibilities are endless. This in turn can lower expenses and empower employees.
You can bet on the fact that your competition is doing everything it possibly can to stay abreast of the latest technological trends. Don’t let them pull ahead. Consider IT investments in strategies and software products that trim precious seconds from inefficient processes and enable you to focus on what really matters: making your business succeed.
We’re not about to decry technology itself. Nor will we downplay the many ways it helps you reach more prospects, build meaningful relationships with clients and make previously complicated tasks seem positively mundane. After all, we’re technology enthusiasts (or we wouldn’t be in our line of work!).
Just make sure that you’re making the IT investments that will best protect your network and give you the biggest bang for your buck. A discussion or assessment with James Moore’s Technology Solutions Consulting team can help you zero in on your biggest IT needs.