05 Jul Five Small Business IT Realities
You are opening your own small business. Congratulations! It’s an exhilarating ride. Starting from your original idea, to the business plan, to financing, location, permits – you’re inundated with details and decisions.
Did one of those decisions involved what technology your company will use? I didn’t think so. Many small business owners tend to “kick the can” down the road on this topic.
Information technology and its management are no longer optional. Every business, from the local ice cream parlor to the law firm down the street, relies upon some form of IT to manage the business. You might have one laptop. Maybe everyone is on tablets. Is your staff working on personal cell phones?
Everything is running great! Until it isn’t. The laptop crashes and everything on your hard drive is lost. Your point-of-sale system stops working during your sale day. Your clerk loses her cell phone with the client data file on it. You realize your system is hacked and your stored credit card numbers are somewhere in Russia. Welcome to the realities of small business IT.
Before you get too far down that road I mentioned, stop to consider these five realities of small business IT.
1. How much tech do you really need? This is a real decision. Is it one laptop? Two? What software will you use? Do mobile devices play a role? How much of your limited budget should be allotted to IT and its management? A brief consultation with an IT firm may help you to define these needs.
2. How will you maintain your IT? Cousin Nicki loves playing with computers on the weekends, but should he/she be managing your company’s IT? This may seem like a great, low cost option, but will NIcki provide the service and strategy needed to keep your systems running safely and effectively? Or, are you spending most of your time fixing computers and printers and less time working on building your business?
3. What’s your backup and disaster recovery plan? Reality check. All computer systems crash. Having a reliable, daily backup of your data files is essential. Backup failures cost small businesses an estimated $18,000 per hour in recovery costs (Ponemon/HP 2011)
4. How will you secure your IT? Viruses, spam and hacking are all small business issues. 71% of all cybercrimes are committed against small business. (2012 Data Breach Investigation Report, Verizon) Having cybersecurity plan, even a short one to start, is essential for you, your staff and your clients.
5. How will you train your staff? Many assume that today’s workforce is well trained in IT and all things web and internet. Not so. Human beings are still the leading cause of system failures, cybercrime success stories and data loss. Taking the time to train your staff on your IT, policies and practices is essential.
For all small business owners, please do yourself a favor an include IT as part of your start up plan. Planning and preparation will save you time, energy and ultimately a lot of money. It’s a business reality!