Many small businesses manage tech issues as they emerge. Small business owners are frequently occupied with running the organization and expanding opportunities.
Security must be a top consideration. Having a strong firewall between the company’s internal network and the Internet is one of the most frequent recommendations made by IT consultants. Ensuring antivirus and anti-malware apps are installed and kept up-to-date is equally important.
Most small businesses aren’t large enough to have a CIO or other technology leader on board. Consequently, the business owner or an employee is left to deal with tech issues.
"Today’s small business CEO is the Chief Everything Officer,” said Matt Kiolbassa, founder and principal of Ntelogic, a managed IT services provider based in California’s Central Valley. "Owners are typically not technology experts and they don’t really have someone they can consistently rely on."
Regrettably, few small business owners stay up-to-date on current hardware and software trends, or what questions to ask to stay competitive.
“Sometimes it’s easier to let the office technology remain the same, taking the ‘if it’s not broke, why fix it’ approach” Kiolbassa said. Problems are dealt with in a break-fix manner. What often gets overlooked Kiolbassa says “is the importance technology plays in business today”, adding that taking a strategic approach is crucial to success.
Unless right-sized components are put in place early on, a small business will find they’ve quickly outgrown their IT solutions.
Quality of service, availability and reliability are highly important. Likewise, prompt, knowledgeable response to IT issues is key to reducing downtime
For small businesses, it is effective from both a time and cost perspective to work with a managed IT service provider.
The number one concern – cybersecurity – is often overlooked or not even considered by small business owners.
A ransomware attack in a two-person firm would be devastating. A 2016 survey conducted by Researchscape International found 61% of businesses suffering a ransomware attack lost access to crucial files or data for at least three days. That would put many small businesses out of business.
Having access to a technology thought leader is vital to success in the small business realm.
Obtaining sensible IT advice requires asking the right questions. Here’s some questions to start the discussion:
- What does our IT infrastructure look like today?
- What exposure to viruses, malware and network intrusion exist?
- Do we have strong, maintained antivirus and anti-malware protection?
- Are important files and data backed-up using business-grade tools?
- Who responds to IT issues, and what are their capabilities?
“Security has to come first,” Kiolbassa said. Selecting the right hardware and software that will serve the current needs of the business while affording an ROI comes next. “Coming in third is training employees so they can reach maximum effectiveness with their technology.”