Information Technology (IT) has become the backbone of modern businesses – a fact that was highlighted immensely during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. 86% of small businesses in the US assert the fact that technology is what facilitated their survival through this time.
The IT infrastructure, which comprises certain hardware and software components, supports small businesses in not just averting crises like economic slowdown because of natural calamities, but also in progressing through the modern ecosystem.
The software takes the biggest chunk of investments in IT infrastructure, with 38% of annual budgets going toward solutions that streamline day-to-day tasks. This is followed by hardware, as some companies require equipment that can support sophisticated tools for various operational purposes.
If you are a small business owner, it is highly probable your firm relies on some form of IT support to manage numerous functions. However, there are certain ways in which your company’s technology infrastructure can be improved to deliver maximum efficiency.
Here are a few tips that can help you optimize the IT framework to ensure relevance with industry standards, allow the achievement of business goals, and integrate technological advancements:
The initial step in solving any problem is to determine the source of the issue. When you are looking for ways to optimize the IT infrastructure of your business, there are certain essentials to focus on. Not only do these include the software and hardware, but also the team that manages these systems. Hiring resources with the academic qualifications and professional experience to run these elements is key.
As the owner, you can also take up a supervisory role in the process by enrolling in an MBA in IT management or a relevant degree. Most small businesses are hard-pressed for resources, which means that they can’t exactly hire a dedicated support team for their IT infrastructure. In this case, a pertinent MBA gives you the ability to assess the current state of your systems without external help.
Start by building a checklist of items that fall under the IT scope, including applications, user interfaces, and a variety of other components. During this process, remember that every piece of the technology infrastructure has an expiry date. Equipment requires regular upgrades, just as digital tools need updates to strengthen their functionality.
This is a step that needs to be a part of the analysis stage. Research the practices that are standard across your relevant industry and consider implementing these to drive the best results from the system. You can ask an IT professional to determine the components that can be changed feasibly, what areas require improvement, and which are running smoothly.
Remember that you need to stay within a budget and timeline while sticking to certain goals and making necessary changes. Most importantly, considering the extensive threat from cybercriminals, ensure your digital security protocols and strategies are as strong as possible. Comply with industry standards in this regard; this mitigates the risk of any potential data breaches during or after the upgrade.
An efficient IT department is unable to perform effectively without the right software and hardware support. When did your business initiate the development of an IT infrastructure, and when was the last upgrade? The answers to these questions will allow you to determine whether this step is relevant to your business or not.
No matter what the extent of your system, it is crucial that you invest in the most high-end pieces of equipment and the latest digital resources available out there. These steps may require you to shell out a considerable amount of money, but these investments will bear exceptional results when they give you a competitive edge in the market and against any untoward situations.
Cloud computing is the future of enterprise data management, with more than 60% of small businesses already utilizing this technology to its full potential. Physical servers are rapidly becoming obsolete and cloud storage is taking over. It is a relatively simple thing to understand that with data backed on cloud servers, companies can not only optimize workflows, but benefit from remote accessibility, efficient data recovery, and improved cybersecurity.
Several companies offer cloud storage, including giants like Google and Amazon. Depending on the size of your business, you may not need exceptionally large server space to hold your databases. A basic Google Cloud storage can also do the trick for you. This is why it is essential to analyze the needs of your business before investing with a cloud service provider. Ensure you look for flexibility, convenience, and security as the primary factors in any cloud storage.
In this modern era, businesses can’t survive without complete or partial digitalization of operations. However, at the same time, there is a looming threat from cybercrime. Did you know that almost 43% of all cyber-attacks globally are directed at small or medium businesses? This is because most entities of this size are under-prepared for such attacks.
In fact, just 14% of small businesses are ready to fend off a cyber-attack like hacking or malware, according to the Accenture Cybercrime study. Moreover, another troubling fact is that a business can spend between a modest $826 to more than $650,000 on different cybersecurity instances. It is no surprise that an average small business can’t recover from such an incident.
Therefore, make it an essential component of your IT infrastructure optimization process to strengthen the cybersecurity infrastructure in a considerable manner. Hire an outside expert for the activity if needed, but take it upon yourself to take every step necessary to plug any flaws in your cybersecurity armor. It also doesn’t hurt to make this task your priority.
Optimizing your IT infrastructure, including hardware and software is essential for streamlining daily operations. As a small business owner, sustainability and progress can only be ensured if you take drastic action before it is too late. Any firm in the modern era that doesn’t have a technology or digitalization footprint can’t possibly compete in terms of either growth or future outlook.
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