Advice The Four S’s – Key Steps To Ensure Firm’s IT Keeps Meeting Goals

Across sectors and varying business sizes from 5 employees to 1000 employees we help our customers adopt the four guiding principles that ensures their IT resources fuel their growth and not hinder it.

Speed

In order for a business to succeed and grow, its employees need to be productive and efficient. Most small businesses try to sweat their IT assets as long as possible, every capital investment is seen as having to last a long time. Where enterprises tend to swap out PCs and Servers every 3 or 4 years small businesses typically hold on to their PCs for 5 to 7 years, some even longer (until they die).

Old IT Infrastructure drains time and money from your business in ways that are not easily quantified on the bottom line.

Lost productivity is the easiest to identify. Older PCs and laptops struggle to run multiple application at once. We’ve all been there, in the zone, working in an application, writing a proposal or responding to emails when your system grinds to a crawl or stops responding completely. Immediately you are out the zone and lose your momentum. While you try and shut down the applications or reboot your computer this is lost time. Researchers at the University of California found that the typical office worker can take almost 25 minutes to get back on track after an interruption.

A by-product of infuriatingly slow workstations is a higher level of stress for the employee and low employee morale. If you are under pressure to complete your work within a specific amount of time and your infrastructure is holding you back it results in longer hours at work or projects not being completed on time.

A recent study by Techaisle found that older workstations took double the maintenance and repair time than PCs less than 4 years old. Day to day losses for older equipment running slower than their younger counterparts are estimated to leech away 7% of productive time for an employee, over 30 minutes a day which is around 15 days a year. Multiply this by the number of employees in your business and you have a substantial productivity issue.

Internet connectivity is another major issue for most SMEs and with the ever growing popularity of cloud services standard ADSL broadband just doesn’t cut it, the amount of lost hours spent waiting on pages to load, files to upload or download would pay for a fibre connection numerous times over and give a much better employee experience. Costs have come drastically down for these lines over the last few years and are now firmly within most SME budgets.

The speed in which your IT infrastructure responds has a direct correlation to how efficient, productive and happy your employees are. Refreshing your IT infrastructure doesn’t need to entail a high capital spend it can easily become an OPEX cost which you can assign to the overall cost of each employee.

Security

Ransomware, hacking, GDPR legislation and fines means having a secure IT infrastructure should be at the forefront of any company’s long-term objectives. Companies need to invest in tools which allow people to carry out their work with ease while also ensuring utmost security. This is becoming more important in the eyes of managers, directors and owners of SMEs.

No one wants to be associated with a data breach or be held to ransom by criminals. You also have internal issues of data theft from employees to contend with.
Poor IT security can cause:

  • Harm to a business’s reputation both externally to customers and with internal employees.
  • Financial losses can incur due to costs restoring systems and files, paying ransomware demands, loss of clients due to disruption of operations or industrial espionage. Now you can add GDPR fines into this mix as well.

A secure network infrastructure can benefit both you and your customers in the following ways:

Peace of mind – everyone is becoming more concerned with security, with high profile breaches such as talk-talk, Facebook, my fitness pal and Sony making headline news everyone understands that they could be next. Many reports show that cyber criminals are broadening their focus and starting to identify SMEs as an easier and possibly more profitable avenue due to the lack of awareness and funding in security compared to larger enterprises.

Productivity – if your network is breached, depending on the severity, you could have workers twiddling their thumbs for hours, days or weeks. The loss in productivity after a security breach can be substantial and take a long time to recover from.

Financial – No one wants to pay for IT security, it is like insurance. No one wants to pay for insurance but the minute they have a car crash, a leak in their roof or their house gets robbed they are eternally grateful for it. Having poor IT security can be a lot more damaging financially than a car crash or your belongings being stolen so it should be treated as a must have not an after thought or something you will get to when there are spare funds. Having adequate IT security ensures long term savings as you cut down the risks of losing customers, employees, paying fines and the overall clean up costs of one or multiple security breaches.

Scalability

This used to be a tough one for small and medium sized businesses when looking at their IT infrastructure, we would often have a business come to us and say our servers only 2 years old, but we’ve outgrown it what can you do for us. The problem was most of the time there wasn’t a lot we could do but install a new server and factor in accelerated growth which could often be costly.

Now with cloud solutions being the norm, it is predicted that 80% of SMEs will be using cloud services by 2020, it is easier to ensure your business can scale efficiently.

With services such as Microsoft 365 and Azure there are a host of benefits:

  • Access applications from anywhere
  • Security
  • Compliance
  • Ease of Collaboration
  • Cost savings

And of course, Scalability. Cloud services give you exceptional flexibility to scale both up and down. Before cloud you could buy a large server to factor in growth and that growth might not materialise meaning you had wasted money, now you can pay for what you use and have the benefit of predictable costs.

Having scalable IT infrastructure and services means you can concentrate on your business, whether that is 5 customers or 500 customers, you do not need to worry whether your IT will meet the demands placed upon it and whether a large CAPEX cost is going to be required to keep up with any growth. SMEs require flexibility and the ability to be agile, this is a major benefit they have over their enterprise competition.

Cloud Services are delivering on the promise of flexible, cost effective access to technology, information and services that can scale quickly to meet the needs of SMEs.

Stability

Everyone has been at the mercy of an IT outage, probably multiple throughout their working career. Any major or even at times minor service interruption can affect the whole company for hours or days. A stable IT infrastructure delivers tremendous benefit to the business. Reducing down time for users and keeping productivity high.

There are several ways to ensure stability within your IT:

Highly available infrastructure – For SMEs this can be a challenge as it can be costly to have IT that is highly available and redundant. However, by utilising cloud infrastructure you get the benefits of HA without the CAPEX costs.

24/7 monitoring via an MSP – At Certum we monitor all our clients networks and services 24/7. We have systems in place that will monitor and alert on any issues within our clients networks such as failed or failing hardware, security alerts, backup issues and performance issues to name a few.

This allows us to fix issues before they have a chance to affect the network as a whole and cause downtime ensuring all users have a stable IT environment. By continuous monitoring we also see trends and can advise when performance is going to suffer and where changes need to be made to ensure stability.

It is difficult to determine just how much time is being wasted and how at risk your business is without help from an experienced IT managed service provider. For a no obligation IT infrastructure audit get in touch with us today.

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