Maintain your IT needs through growth and keep costs manageable.
It’s every SMB’s worst nightmare: an IT infrastructure failure where both valuable data and valuable time is lost. Most smaller businesses today are relying on data backup methods that are outdated and vulnerable, few are aware of what a full disaster recovery or business continuity plan is. Often business owners mistakenly assume that backing up their data is a business continuity plan – but there is a difference between backups and business continuity, and if you’re a small or medium size business owner, it’s important you understand what that difference is.
Let’s talk numbers.
Everyone knows the saying time is money, but you might be surprised to know just how costly downtime can be. A paper published by Datto, a leading U.S. provider of MSP-delivered IT solutions, states that organizations can loose anywhere between $9,000 - $700,000 per hour when IT issues render them inoperative, depending of course on their size and line of business. The average cost per hour of downtime for small to medium sized business is $164,000 per hour – a staggering sum by any account, certain to hurt any business that pays the price for it.
What causes these IT failures? The two main culprits for unexpected downtime are network outages and human error, which account for 50% and 45% of all downtime, respectively. The remaining percentage of unexpected downtime can be attributed to natural disasters, which means your employees are a lot more dangerous to your IT infrastructure than Mother Nature is.You’d be well advised to have a recovery plan in place long before you need one.
What exactly is at risk?
About 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data are generated every day, and over 90% of all the data that exists in the world right now was created just in last few years – most of which was generated by small businesses. That’s a whole lot of data to safeguard, and yet small business owners are notoriously bad at getting adequate systems in place.
Nearly 75% of these businesses operate without any kind of disaster recovery plan, and only 25% of those who do have a plan in place report being “extremely confident” that they’d be able to restore lost data after the fact. Datto reports that 50% back up less than 60% of their data, the remaining 40% of their data has no protection whatsoever – which is a pretty scary thought, considering the cost to small business is so high.
Over the past several years, 35% of small and medium sized businesses lost as much as $500,000 due to data loss and downtime problems, and a very unlucky 3% of them lost over $1 million. Based on the numbers, it will come as no surprise that over 90% of small businesses close their doors within two years of experiencing IT failure.
Backups are not the same as business continuity
So what’s the difference between backing up your data and business continuity, and which approach is best for you?Simply put, the two are are separated by the time it takes to restore or recover data and get your people back to work.
Get to know your IT provider
Our motto has always been “we worry about your IT, so you can focus on what you do best.” However, it’s not as easy as handing over the ropes over to an IT provider and letting them do their magic. It’s important for your providers to get to know you and your business, and vice versa.
You’re going to be working together for a long time , so they need to know the ins and outs of your business – What works? What doesn’t? What helps your business function? What can improve? Building a rapport with your IT provider will not only provide them with the information they need, but allow you and your team to be comfortable enough to communicate needs effectively and efficiently, minimizing the amount of headaches as your business grows.
When your provider knows what your business needs to be successful, they’ll be better equipped to provide suggestions on plans that will work long term while still being as cost-effective as possible.
Develop a strategy
Now that you have a clearer picture of what you will need out of your IT services , it's time to create a strategy for getting there.Chances are you have a growth plan for your business, so it’s a good idea to incorporate your IT needs into this strategy to ensure it will grow along with you. This is where your IT provider can jump in and provide insight into developing a solid strategy to get you to the next level.
Invest in your future
While paying for the best IT available as soon as your business starts out may not be the smartest move, it is important to keep in mind that a good IT service is an investment for the future. Creating a comprehensive plan to manage growth is integral to saving on costs, but none of that will matter if you don’t start strong.
Setting your business up for success by providing your team with the right tools to be able to do their jobs successfully and competently will enable it to grow with as little hiccups as possible. This will allow for maximum productivity from your team with little to no communication bottlenecks. Choose an IT provider that delivers a stellar product from the beginning with excellent service – one that is there every step of the way to consult on every aspect of technology for your growth plan.
You’re business isn’t the only thing that’s evolving. As IT services become more and more cloud-based, it only makes sense your business should as well. Contrary to popular belief, a cloud-based server is just as, if not more secure, than other options. Plus, as your IT needs continue to grow, readjusting your plan is much easier if it doesn’t depend on outdated technology.
The important thing is to be aware of what your team needs to succeed and developing a strong relationship with your IT provider will allow you to create a detailed growth plan together.Growing your business should always be your top priority, and the technology on which you rely upon should make this easier.
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