If you run a small business, chances are network management and IT solutions are of great concern to you.

Keeping viable in a rapidly-changing IT environment can be a strain on smaller firms, even those with in-house IT departments.  Maintaining security, updating software, coordinating mobile devices and backups are crucial to surviving in today’s business world.  Even if you consider yourself technologically-savvy, the speed at which business technology is evolving is staggering.  Every day another news story appears revealing the vulnerability of critical data and processes.

Kind of mind-blowing, considering you’re a stone-mason (or stock broker, or estate lawyer…).

At some point, every business has to take a long hard look at how they will manage their data, what the costs are, what risks are involved, and just how many processes need to be kept in-house.  If you are at that stage in your company’s development, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Jill Billhorn, Vice President, Small Business at CDW LLC, offers small business owners some valuable advice for moving in-house IT toward a more cloud-based system.

  • Start with a Plan.  Even a small plan is better than no plan.  Do a realistic assessment of your firm’s needs, especially in regards to software management and data storage.  There are a great many services available, and not all of them may be right for your business.  Before you settle on a service provider, it’s best to know what services will move your business forward.
  • Get the Budget in Line.  Cost-savings is one of the main reasons businesses find systems such as Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS) so attractive.  As with any other major investment, however, you need to know exactly how much you’re spending now to know how much you’ll save.  If your current infrastructure is old, the decision to move to an IaaS provider might be preferable to a costly-infrastructure upgrade.
  • Keep an Eye on Security.  The news is filled with horror stories about security breaches, hacking, and other nasty tricks of the tech trade.  But your data doesn’t have to be up for grabs.  Consider the option of moving less sensitive data to a public cloud, while maintaining business-critical data on a private cloud.  Your IT can also install firewalls, proxie servers, and other redundant security measures.

The bottom line is small and medium size businesses can gain a distinct advantage by utilizing these more cost-effective strategies.  Your in-house staff can be freed to focus on business-specific tasks (rather than upgrades, patches, etc.), and funds that formerly went towards maintaining an expensive infrastructure can be released to expand your business.

If you are ready to move your business to the next level, please contact us.  We can help you sort through the details so that you can focus on doing the work you love.