Systems down. From the Blue Screen of Death to a hacked server or an offline website, IT issues hold businesses back from productivity and growth.
Today’s hyper-connected world means two things for business leaders when IT dramas strike. Firstly, should your IT systems go down, thanks to forums and social media, everyone’s going to know about it. Secondly, IT is now such a central and fundamental part of the way we work it’s finally getting the attention it deserves from the C-Suite.
Increasingly more CIOs are making their way onto the board, lifting the importance of IT infrastructure to mission critical. And with the threatening cloud of GDPR above us, AI adoption raising the competition stakes and DevOps altering the culture of IT development, technology is firmly at the heart of business today.
Strategic IT thinking helps businesses remain agile and competitive. As with many things, spending four hours sharpening the axe helps us cut down the tree in just one. Preparation and a comprehensive strategy are key to avoiding IT downtime. Here are some simple techniques to adopt today.
Assess your IT effectiveness and plan
Take stock of your IT systems with an audit and match this against your business strategy. IT can no longer be regarded as a back-office function. Such an integral part of organisational infrastructure, it’s vital to understand how it can meaningfully contribute to business growth.
Recognising today how your IT must evolve to support your growing business, makes tomorrow’s journey a smoother path. Seasoned IT practitioners can help you navigate these waters.
Switch to Cloud Services
When your systems are in the cloud, software is constantly updated. You no longer need to worry about aging or overloaded servers. Server maintenance and anti-virus costs disappear.
Using Cloud Services means accessing business tools traditionally tethered to physical outputs, such as Microsoft Office, telephony systems and servers, via the Internet. Software downloads are no longer needed. Updates and fixes are automatic and your workforce can access what they need wherever they are.
For many, moving to the cloud is the first step towards avoiding IT downtime. It’s a powerful solution and, for the user, disarmingly simple. For IT practitioners, the weight is taken out of maintenance freeing up more time to develop IT in the required direction for strategic growth.
Cloud services also empower a mobile workforce. 33% of employees that typically work on employer premises, also frequently work away from their desks. 66% of employees use their private devices for professional purposes. Don’t limit them because of a lack of appropriate IT solutions.
Invest in IT monitoring
Dedicating resource, whether your own or outsourced, to monitoring IT systems can prevent IT downtime. The best monitoring solutions implement a proactive maintenance schedule, often spotting and fixing problems before they arise. The goal here is to:
- Identify performance issues early
- Isolate where the problem is occurring
- Diagnose the issue for quick problem resolution
Action follows swiftly on the heels of diagnosis, with dedicated services providing remote fixes that reduce the threat to zero. Problems can be addressed by an IT technician without your team member having to down tools. In many cases they can carry on working while the problem is fixed in the background.
Step up your cybersecurity
51% of medium-sized businesses surveyed by the government’s 2016 Cyber Security Breaches report had experienced a breach in the last 12 months, as had 33% of small businesses. 31% of respondents reported the breach had prevented staff carrying out everyday tasks. 12% had been prevented from providing goods and services. 10% had seen a loss of revenue.
Cyber security isn’t just the concern of big business. Stepping up your cybersecurity is a smart move to prevent unseen IT downtime and all its implications. The biggest threat is from organised cybercrime groups who seek to access, manipulate and sell you data, putting financial and personal records at risk.
Your next move
There is increasingly little excuse for business downtime as a result of IT issues. These four simple approaches can rapidly alter the risk a business is exposed to and offer immediate business continuity protection. Be it an audit, cloud services, IT monitoring or cyber security, your business will be better able to maintain IT systems, support its workforce and serve its customers.
San-iT offers comprehensive IT support to SMEs across the North West. Our customers hail from a wide variety of sectors but share one thing in common: an understanding that effective IT is critical to business success. To discover how we can help your business improve its IT performance, contact us here.