Why is it so that SMBs are so vulnerable to technology issues? Unforeseen events like data glitches, ransomware attacks and system crashes can lead to significant problems threatening the mere existence of your company.
In the following article, we explain what the leading IT and cybersecurity risks of any small business are, and how a managed IT services provider can help business owners address them.
Lack of IT Strategy
Tiny IT budgets and the lack of experience often leaves small businesses without an adequate IT strategy. Why is planning so important? A well-thought-out IT strategy can identify the best combination of software and hardware providing the highest value to your business.
On the other hand, small businesses tend not to devise an IT strategy. As a result, they end up with high maintenance costs and unexpected expenses due to IT equipment not fit for purpose. Ultimately, this affects the competitiveness of the business in an increasingly cutthroat market.
A managed IT solution provider (MSP), however, can help your business formulate a long-term IT strategy that goes hand in hand with your business strategy, rather than limiting it.
IT professionals can help you make the technology choices that enable your business to achieve its future goals. In a nutshell, a laid out IT strategy allows your business to get the most out from your often limited IT budget.
Not Preparing for the Disaster
The failure of any piece of hardware or software is inevitable. Your files, emails and databases are continuously under threat by system crashes, data corruption issues, natural disasters, hackers and ransomware. Small businesses frequently overlook the importance of data backups. After all, if everything is working correctly, why do we need backups?
If your business is not prepared to protect their IT systems from data loss, you are taking a high-level of risk. Data recovery is a costly exercise – if possible at all. For example, it costs unprepared businesses $15,000 on average to mitigate a ransomware attack according to independent reports.
Therefore, Stay Smart Online recommends that business owners are taking backups regularly. Otherwise, you may go out of business after a major data loss – according to PwC.
The solution is a comprehensive backup strategy that provides full coverage for your workstations, laptops, servers, network devices, and your services running in the cloud.
A managed IT service provider can develop the right backup plan for your business. Professionals can help you:
- identify where your business-critical data is stored or processed;
- choose the right tools to capture and archive the data;
- test the backups to ensure your data can be successfully recovered; and
- recover your data as needed.
Outdated IT Equipment
A legacy IT asset is not only a ticking time bomb in terms of availability but also a constant source of frustration. The effect of a slow, unreliable workstation on staff ranges from employee dissatisfaction to decreased productivity and morale. Who likes to work on a slow computer that always crashes, after all?
Similarly, obsolete server equipment comes with high maintenance costs hindering the growth of your business. Also, they can break down at any time making your business grind to a halt until the server is replaced. On top of that, important files and folders on the server are lost for good if the failure affects the hard drive.
To prevent this from happening, you should:
- standardise your software and hardware configuration;
- develop a reasonable lifecycle management policy; and
- upgrade your IT assets when their lifecycle is about to end.
If you choose to outsource your IT to a services provider, they can help you get the most out of your organisation’s IT budget. Professionals can recommend you the most reliable technology solutions while saving you money by having access to hardware and cloud services on a wholesale price.
In general, hardware assets like servers and workstations rarely fail or degrade in performance within their planned lifespan.
Hacking and Data Breaches
Why should small businesses be worried about hacking and data breaches? According to Symantec, small business is the target of 43% of all cyber attacks. To add insult to injury, 60% of the small companies go out of business within six months after a cyber attack (National Cyber Security Alliance).
According to Iron Bastion, the immediate damages of a cyber attack are:
- hackers misdirecting bank transfers and cards payments;
- interruptions to your normal business operations; and
- unexpected expenses related to remediation of systems, such as hiring high-paid security consultants, performing expensive data-recovery, or repairing/replacing systems post-breach.
The long-term consequences of a cyber attack against your IT systems include:
- damages to your business’s reputation;
- loss of existing and future clients and customers;
- unwanted media attention;
- legal action against you by your clients and customers for negligence or other claims.
A better managed IT service provider can cover the cyber aspect of IT, meaning you do not have to worry about hackers and cybercriminals defrauding your business. The Australian Cyber Security Centre has published a practical guide to help Australian business owners choose an MSP with strong cybersecurity principles.
Small businesses with underfunded or mismanaged IT are prone to financial loss, reduced employee productivity and data breaches. While some of these issues can be addressed in-house, these technology issues prevent you from focusing on your core business areas. A managed service IT provider, on the other hand, has the expertise to identify, address and prevent IT issues that would negatively affect your business growth.
Who We Are
Arrow Networks are a managed IT services provider offering a comprehensive range of managed IT services for small businesses. Contact our friendly team today for a free consultation or visit our website to learn what services we have to offer for your business.