No More IT Excuses for SMBs
In all my years of IT consulting and leadership, there’s one phrase that has really bothered me.
“It’s not a problem until it’s a problem.”
It doesn’t always sound like that. Sometimes it comes out in the form of “We’ll fix it when it breaks,” “Well, my servers haven’t crashed yet,” or “We haven’t been hacked, so we’re okay for now.”
More recently, I had gained some hope that this break-fix mentality was waning. As major technology players stepped up their game in the SMB space over the past 5 years in particular, I had visions of a pro-active IT landscape and business planning. With these technology innovators (Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Dell) making enterprise-level technologies increasingly more available to the small and mid-sized business market at an affordable price, I thought surely…SURELY, all SMB leaders of the world would finally see how IT can grow their business rather than collect dust in a corner as end users groan, productivity lags and security suffers.
But then I read this in the 2016 State of IT report from Spiceworks:
“Though IT spending is relatively flat, more than half (56%) of IT pros surveyed expect their company's annual revenue to continue increasing in 2016… Management is laser-focused on keeping costs low, but doesn't quite get IT's importance to the company... until something breaks.”
More than half, still don’t get IT.
As a CEO, I can empathize with my fellow SMB leaders. Time and money is precious. We’re managing people, balancing operations and trying to keep some semblance of a work-life balance going. How does IT fit into all that? And how do I give up operational dollars for a department that historically is not seen as a “money-maker?”
But the old days of “let it slide” are over. The plain truth is that IT is now so cost-effective, so scalable and so detrimental to the security and growth of your business that there’s really no more excuses for not doing it right.
Here are 3 reasons to quit making excuses:
1. Enterprise-level solutions are now available to SMBs at an affordable cost. Cloud computing has opened the floodgates of technology solutions that were previously only at the fingertips of large corporations with plump budgets. Everything from productivity suites to data storage to security firewalls are in an SMB’s grasp due to the cloud. Did you know that an SMB can have a disaster recovery and data backup plan in place and fully managed for as little as $200 a month? Your cost is tailored to your business needs and amount of data. With this type of solution there’s no reason we should continue reading statistics like “60% of companies that lose their data in a disaster will shut down within six months.”
2. Cyber-security is no joke, and SMBs are definitely not immune. If CVS, Anthem and the IRS are not safe – are you? Cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated, more prevalent and they’re not going to leave you alone just because you’re not a Fortune 500. The old mentality was that IT costs outweighed any risk of getting hacked, losing data or business downtime. But that wasn’t right then and it’s definitely not accurate now. The average cost of a cyber-attack on an SMB was found to be around $8,700 per incident, according to the National Small Business Association. Sure, cyber insurance may protect you but premiums are skyrocketing. Ensuring your company is prioritizing up-to-date supported hardware and software, patching, firewalls while educating employees on cyber security and taking other best practice security measures is critical in this day and age.
3. The onus no longer has to be on you. One promising takeaway in Spiceworks 2016 report is a projected increase (albeit just slight increase) in Managed Services investments. Fortunately - and I’ve noticed this in my own business - more SMB leaders are realizing they can’t do it alone and they don’t have to. Managed Services puts necessary IT functions like security, anti-virus and data backup in the hands of skilled technology professionals who work across a range of industries. Our clients are always surprised to find out that bringing in an experienced MSP saves them money. And even though the savings are key, the real rewards kicks in when they free up you and your staff to focus on what’s most important: business.
About the Author: Michael Hadley is the President and CEO of iCorps Technologies based in the Northeast, United States. He has more than twenty years of experience in providing technology consulting to both senior business and IS executives. His consulting experience is focused on the strategic use of information technology.
Want to know if your IT is running up to speed? Request a Technology Assessment today.
This article was originally published on Linkedin Pulse.