For any business, successfully executing your business model and growing your customer base are the primary goals. However, they are not the only goals a company needs to be concerned with. It’s just as important to build your secondary structures like a good employment model, regulation compliance, and IT support. Many businesses don’t realize just how important their IT department and cyber security structures truly are until disaster strikes.
It’s true that a modern business can get themselves up and running using intuitive software, hosted networks, and cloud-based toolkits. But a business is not robust, secure, or safe from digital mishaps without IT support on the team. Without IT support, your business is vulnerable to data loss, hacker and malware attacks, operational efficiency problems, and falling behind the competitive digital curve.
If you don’t currently have a Managed Service Provider, (MSP), now is an important time to ask yourself: What mistakes might your business be making without IT professionals ensuring your vital digital resources, data flow, and security are properly configured? What digital disasters are you unprepared for, and how can you resolve these potential risks?
Data loss is the number one risk for a business running without network security, and it can come from many different types of disasters. Let’s say the power goes out in the office, a natural disaster floods your servers, or an employee accidentally deletes a critical database. Do you have backups?
A hacker may deploy ‘ransomware’ to hold your system hostage or unleash malicious malware to corrupt your data. The consequences of data loss or data breaches can be profound. You may lose days, months, or years of important business data, as well as the trust of your clients and customers. Some companies can be completely wiped out if their servers are wiped without backups.
IT support, however, always includes a comprehensive backup and recovery plan. This includes comprehensive system backups, archival backups, and daily logged backups so that no matter what happens to your physical or virtual data storage – you can always quickly ‘reload from save’ with minimal time lost. IT teams also test backups to ensure that every recovery process is a success.
Businesses can set up their own operational structures these days, but updating is far more complicated. Outdated technology occurs when the shiny, new programs you started with begin to age. You may notice that your website doesn’t offer the same features or performance as your competitors or that your operational software lacks APIs to interface with the systems used by your vendors and clients.
Outdated software impacts productivity by neglecting the latest workflow solutions and interconnectivity. It impacts competitiveness by causing your company to fall behind the curve and even fail to connect with clients using newer tech.
Keeping up with the latest software trends and operational technology, however, is a core function of an IT support team. An IT team will regularly implement managed software updates to the latest version, modernize old systems, and research the best tech for your business needs. They will then handle data migrations and implement new systems to keep your business technology in line with industry standards and trends.
Cybersecurity threats have increased in frequency and sophistication over the last two decades. With two generations of digital natives, we also have two generations in which bad seeds can become part of the darknet. Ranging from mischievous teens to career cyber-criminals, hackers enact wave after wave of scams, malware attacks, and targeted data heists in which no business – no matter the sector or size – is immune.
It is no longer reasonable to say “We’re too small’ or “We’re too obscure” to be attacked. A malware attack can reach an employee’s email randomly at any time. If you handle data involving names, payment information, or just a stack of passwords, your data might be targeted for theft.
Security breaches can also be catastrophic, depending on the type of attack. Lost data can lose the trust of your clients. Corrupted or damaged systems can damage your business – sometimes in unforeseen ways. A breach can also lead to regulation compliance consequences ranging from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
This is why an IT support team’s job includes regular penetration testing, vulnerability testing, and building robust cybersecurity defenses. Custom-configured firewalls and network protocols create the first layer, defended by patrols of regular virus scanning, upgrades of security patches, and sometimes even writing unique security APIs to cover the gaps between third-party software partners.
IT strategy is the process of preparing your data and software structures to align with your business goals. Anyone can spin up a WordPress site and use a generic ERP, but is your business really running at its optimum efficiency or presenting the best possible public face using generic solutions? Usually not. Proactive IT strategy and planning seek to find the best software and the best configurations to empower your business toward specific performance goals.
For example, your IT support team might choose an ERP designed to fit your manufacturing workflow, which has unique features and data handling that work better than a generic retail-default software stack. They might optimize your server resources for more powerful computing or faster read-write in a shared database, depending on how information is handled in your normal workflow.
IT support can also collaborate with businesses to develop tailored IT strategies that work best with unique business models and mesh well with the software management systems of your networked vendors and clients.
There’s a big difference between setting up a business tech infrastructure and properly maintaining it. Most business owners today can sign up for an enterprise account or spin up an AWS/Azure server but may not know how to optimize performance or safely upgrade the software. Most businesses worry about making any changes or updates for fear it will upset the stack and cause problems they don’t know how to fix.
This can quickly lead to problems that build up without maintenance, inefficient processes, and outdated software. Having someone on the team who knows how to both maintain and manage your tech stack is essential to avoiding problems, ensuring good performance, and advancing with updates and upgrades. Even when major overhauls are necessary, a skilled IT support team knows how to plan a staged process with minimal downtime and backups.
Modern business is a synergy between employees and the technologies they use. This means that employee IT training is essential for both efficiency and cybersecurity. A well-trained workforce fully understands its tools and can utilize the company’s technology to get ahead. A poorly trained workforce does only a few operations they were trained to do, which can lead to inefficient processes and frequent mistakes.
IT support is often in charge of arranging training courses appropriate for each team in the company. Marketing will be trained with creation and distribution software, finance will be trained with their financial management software, engineers will fully understand their design software, and everyone will be able to aptly navigate the shared company systems. In fact, it’s quite common for a company’s IT support team to design and run workshops to keep employees up-to-date on their tools.
Business technology is a fast-paced landscape of constant advancements. Web tech, logistics, finance, customer support, and enterprise management -just to name a few – are constantly improving as updates to popular software and new innovative solutions are released. Companies are migrating to the cloud and competing for who can offer the most cutting-edge services to clients like omnichannel support and AI-backed personalized service.
Businesses that stay ahead of the curve are more competitive, wowing customers before trends become commonplace and gaining productivity advantages from the latest back-end technology. Of course, this kind of advancement is only possible with a capable IT support team in the works. IT support keeps businesses informed, updated, and optimized with the latest technology trends.
These seven mistakes are common problems for companies that operate without IT support. But being aware of them makes it possible to avoid known problems before they happen. If your business is suffering from one or more of these seven mistakes of running without IT support, now is the time to upgrade your operations.
Adding IT support to your business can quickly improve your productivity, competitive positioning, and cyber security and help you take the lead in your industry. Why run your business at less than optimal levels or put your company at unnecessary risk? With a skilled IT team in your corner, your tech stack will hum, and your staff will discover new possibilities with the software they use every day.
Discover how IT support can unlock your business’ potential. Contact On Time Tech for a consultation on the best IT support solutions for your business.