The IT to-do list: how to manage it and avoid mistakes
When you’re running an SME, your full-time job is to do lots of full-time jobs. Here are some tips on how to manage your IT to-do list to help you keep on top of your IT.
If the business were bigger, each of those jobs would have a department head to handle it, but for now they all fall to the founder, the MD, or the CEO — you.
IT is one of those jobs. The trouble is, when it’s one of the many things you need to take care of, you can’t give it the time it needs and deserves. You spend your IT time fighting fires, which means it’s less of a tool for growth and more of a hindrance to it.
When there’s no time for proper strategy, you can’t be sure you’re spending time and money smartly, even if you do get a chance to be proactive.
So, as a starting point, what are other small businesses spending their time and budget on?
- IT infrastructure (57%)
- security (38%)
- revenue increases (26%)
Source: Finances Online
Here’s the IT to-do list to make sure you’re using your precious IT time wisely.
Arrange your IT infrastructure
Your networks make your devices and programmes function. Something that critical needs careful thought behind it.
- Servers can be physical or virtual, or a hybrid of the two. The right choice or the balance between the two is different for each business, but it’s important to consider an arrangement that allows room for business growth.
- Cabling is easily and often overlooked, but that makes it an incident waiting to happen.
- Virtualisation can free you from costly, space-consuming, and energy-hungry hardware, and maintain backups should any one server go down.
Ageing or poorly chosen infrastructure could be holding you back more than you realise. It’ll cause a lot of the IT problems you have to deal with, so it’s less that you can’t afford to spend the time on it, and more that you can’t afford not to.
Secure and backup your data
There are now almost no businesses without data. Your customer and marketing lists, financial and accounting information, inventory, contracts, and communications history are just a few examples of the precious information you could hold.
To lose it or not to have access to it would be a disaster, so you need a contingency. Data protection Tools like Backup as a Service (Baas) and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) can be very cost-effective ways to keep the business moving should an attack, electrical failure, or any dramatic event prevent you from accessing your data.
First thing, though, you should sort your programmes and applications into three tiers:
- Programmes you cannot function without
- Programmes you can afford not to use for 8-24 hours
- Programmes you can cope without for 24 hours or more
Once you have those tiers, you can work with an IT specialist to craft a disaster recovery plan.
Maximise your connectivity
Just as every business has critical data, every business relies on connectivity and remote communication. Existing and prospective customers will expect to meet and speak through video calls, your own teams will need to communicate reliably, and in the case of hybrid or remote teams, they could be working far away from one another.
All that means slow or unreliable connections can cost you new business and productivity, so here are some tools that could make sure the whole business is connected reliably.
- Leased line: A dedicated internet circuit that you don’t share with anyone. You get all of the bandwidth, all of the time
- Wide Area Network (WAN): Keep remote workers reliably and securely connected, with a network that can cope when things go wrong
- Unified communications: A scalable cloud-based system that seamlessly links mobile devices, desktops, and laptops with hosted telephony
Get an expert assessment & update your IT to-do list
It’s always a good idea to assess the state of your IT, so any time you put into it is well spent. Of course, you still might not have time to look at it, or know what to look for if you did. You can always delegate it to an external expert, who’ll know what to look for, and how to fix it.
Arc Systems has been managing, transforming, and securing business IT in Essex, London, and the South East for over 30 years. If you’d like a free IT health check to understand the state of your systems, you can book yours here. If you
Or, if you’d like to speak to an IT expert, call 01268 288100 or email [email protected].