Let’s get one thing clear, right off the bat. The network and other technology you buy, lease, or otherwise see accruing on your spreadsheet month in, month out, it works for you. So when you try to use it to conduct business, and it fails, or delays you, or otherwise doesn’t work right, you pay for that, too. It’s like paying twice, and that doesn’t work for anyone. Instead make the most of how your technology dollars are spent and reap the rewards with productivity. Here are five easy steps to do that:
1. Get a handle on what you’re actually spending. You may not even know how much you spend, or where the money hits your budget. This problem has actually been compounded over the last two years with numerous companies allowing staff to go remote. Work-from-home expenses for technology, such as paying for a salesperson’s upgraded laptop, home broadband service or a cell phone that accesses your network, these may be part of a large ghost spend that gets paid from personal expense accounts.
Ask Yourself: How can you understand what you’re spending on technology if you don’t have all the figures?
2. Look at the fixed costs, and how they’re trending. Do you pay for managed services each month? What about space on the cloud? Consider how you use these services, how high the amount is each month, and how it’s trending. Generally we find, in reviewing these situations, that costs are not dropping. That can even be okay, as long as you’re happy with the service you’re getting (and have a good idea of what you’re actually paying for).
Ask Yourself: It’s easy to stand pat and pay on that managed services contract, is it the best move for your business? After all, IT is a competitive marketplace, with one-man operations, mid-sized local players, and local offices for national and multinational corporations all competing for business. Who is going to be most responsive to your needs and have the resources to back you up when something goes wrong? At Axis, we don’t require expensive long-term contracts, and we’re flexible to your needs.
3. Treat your technology like any other key part of your business. Budget for it, and proactively head off problems by developing a strategy. Now that you know what you’re spending each month, it’s easier to plan in order to accomplish what you need to get done, such as fixing critical needs, such as security and setting up an effective disaster recovery plan, and then looking forward, so upgraded technology can filter to your employees who need it, and do it before the need jumps to the “critical” category.
Ask Yourself: Is this an expensive luxury for my business? It’s more likely a smart way to spend the money you’re already allocating to technology. But instead of stopgaps and Band-Aids, it’s heading off problems and looking ahead.
4. Figure out how long you have to get it done. As with anything, choosing the quicker route means higher upfront costs, but now you’re thinking about this the right way. Creating a strategy means timing and costs are all factors, and, just as you would ramp up hiring of additional salespeople to capitalize on a market advantage, so you may advance the timeframe if the benefit becomes apparent. Likewise, setbacks or lost business may move some strategic items down the priority list. The key is to think about the network and act on it, rather than just vaulting from hard-drive failure to overheating battery to the next emergency. Take control and plan ahead.
Ask Yourself: When do I start? Should I wait till the start of the year, or begin now? Truthfully it’s different for every business. But with any business, the sooner you start to make a change, the faster it ends up happening. At the very least, a call to that managed services provider could get some relief on monthly costs. Or call us, and we’ll meet with you and fill you in on the best way to approach the challenges you face.
5. What’s a good first step? Maybe have us conduct a network security assessment. We provide a free NIST Security Audit for your business network, and there’s no obligation to buy any hardware or services from us. But you will have an idea of where the flaws in your network security are hiding, and can even ask your current managed services provider about these potential issues. It may motivate you to figure out your strategy—and your priority list—a little more quickly.
Ask Yourself: How much is my business worth to me? It’s an important question, because ransomware and data breaches can make the question a real one. Planning for IT with a sound strategy will help protect your digital assets and your reputation more effectively. And that is worth an investment.