Does this sound familiar? “I don’t need an IT department. My company only has five employees.” What about, “We’re doing fine on our own for now. We’ll worry about IT services if our company gets really profitable.” For new and growing businesses, it can be easy to rationalize skipping expenditures related to IT services, but if you don’t start out with a good infrastructure, your company may be at risk as it grows. You don’t need the same plan that would be recommended for a multi-billion dollar business, but you should have some basics in place.
1 – Computer Maintenance & Replacement Plans
Computers, like cars and homes, need regular maintenance in order to perform properly. Maintenance can include making sure all programs are updated, running antivirus software, and periodically checking for potential concerns. By taking steps to maintain the function of your business computers, you can extend their life by several years. No matter how well you maintain your computers, you should still have plans to replace technology periodically. In some industries, you can get away with replacement every ten years, but in many cases, it’s beneficial to replace computers and other devices more often. Review the norms in your industry and create a plan and budget for new devices that makes sense.
2 – A Network Security Plan
Big businesses like Target, Marriott, and Macy’s have experienced data breaches in recent years, and these companies invest in huge IT security firms to protect their information. If they’re still at risk, what does that say about your smaller company? According to recent studies, data security breaches are increasing for small to medium size businesses, and you need to make sure you have a network security plan in place to prevent data breaches. You don’t necessarily need to invest in a million dollar IT security firm, but everyone should take basic steps like installing virus protection software on business devices, keeping programs up to date, and ensuring employees change passwords.
3 – VoIP or Hosted PBX for Communication
More and more we see brick and mortar businesses becoming a thing of the past. Those that continue to thrive have invested in means of communicating and conducting business with clients across the country and around the globe. Traditional phone exchanges give you the ability to receive and make calls, leave voicemails, and offer some limited conferencing options. VoIP and Hosted PBX systems expand communication tools to include video conferencing, messaging options, and more. Best of all, your employees and clients can interact seamlessly from anywhere.
4 – File Sharing & Collaboration Tools
With increasingly remote and virtual workspaces, collaboration can be challenging. Luckily, there are numerous collaboration tools and applications available that make sharing documents, creating team workflows, and just generally working well together a little easier. Before you choose the app for your business, take some time to lay out all the possible functions that could be streamlined, and work with a developer to create a unique tool for your business.
5 – Monitoring for Security & Profitability
Monitoring what your employees do on office devices can feel a little gross as an employer, but when employees use business devices to view non-work sites, they open your company to potential security risks – in addition to getting paid for online shopping. Doing some basic monitoring and installing software to block specific sites can really be beneficial in the long run.
Bonus IT Must Have – A Great IT Team
At iTArchiTeks, we work with businesses of all sizes to customize IT service plans to address your needs and fit your budget. To get started, contact our sales team today. We’ll be happy to talk through your options.