In a small business setting, every IT decision can feel as if it’s directly linked to the success of the business. When there are restraints on resources and manpower, the stakes seem higher to make smart and informed IT investments that prioritize the best interest of a small business. Let’s breakdown a few run-of-the-mill IT challenges for the typical small business and unpack viable pathways for addressing them:
Employee Onboarding and Offboarding
The initial weeks in a new job are critical for building success, and all businesses want a smooth and positive start for employees. The problem is, there’s so many tools and factors to consider, and change is constant, making it difficult to solidify your standards. Formalizing your approach and procedures for this endeavor can be daunting for a small business.
Begin with simple onboarding and offboarding checklists that identify responsibilities for the HR team and the IT department. To get started, just write down the 5-10 key applications and tools that everyone needs to perform their job basics. Don’t feel like your onboarding or offboarding checklists need to be comprehensive or complete on the first pass. You can iterate!
Next, graduate to exploring an asset management solution with your IT service provider to help your small business track, maintain, and manage your IT assets across the organization. Offboarding staff will always pose a security risk. Use your onboarding checklist as your guide to creating an offboarding checklist. An offboarding plan will help secure company-owned devices and safeguard your network and sensitive information. We’ve shared more advice on how to build a robust onboarding program, as well as security tips for employee offboarding.
Supply Chain Issues
The repercussions of recent hardware shortages and supply chain delays are felt everywhere by businesses of all sizes. From raw materials to computer chip shortages, these procurement delays are impacting the operational efficiencies of every workforce. Without consistent and adequate access to line-of-business resources, small businesses are seeing big pressure to act quickly whenever technology hardware is back in stock. The Net Friends team has seen all sorts of technology parts impacted by supply chain issues, such as monitors, laptop docking stations, and the laptops themselves. The chronic supply chain issues that also continue to cause massive delays are in network equipment: network switches and wireless access points (WAP).
Partnering with an IT vendor can help offset some of the burdens for procurement and supply chain management. Since Net Friends is a significant technology purchaser and we dedicate a lot of time to nurturing relationships with our vendors and distributors, we’re able to lock-in preferred pricing for hardware and warranties with distributors. Most small businesses do not have access to these perks.
A mature managed IT service provider with a dedicated technology stack can also support a small business with same-day deployment and replacement of standard IT stack components. Net Friends maintains inventory on-hand for the core technology we recommend, helping to smooth out the supply chain challenges for our customers. This can help you skip-the-line for the best deals on technology products that support your small business operation. Learn more about the top technology stack questions you should ask any prospective IT partner.
Unresolved Root Causes to IT Issues
Small businesses often lack the capacity to allocate staff for every technical task and the in-house skillsets to tackle more complex issues. This gap is important to address, because IT issues can range from minor annoyances to major disruptions for your business operations. Unresolved root issues will lead to further downtime and productivity loss.
IT departments or service providers address root causes best when they leverage a formal tracking system. With issue tracking, the problem is documented. This documentation elevates the visibility of the disruptive issue and serves as a central place to capture observations and attempts at solving the issue. Any notes and recurring symptoms will provide data and trends to further identify and tackle the issue head on.
Tracked problems get more attention, are easier to report on, and the extra spotlight on them facilitates a lasting fix. Effective help desk support will always address the root problems to ensure long-term solutions.
Scaling for Growth
Small businesses are embracing cloud transformation projects to improve their operational efficiencies. Many businesses find that it’s far easier to run when their critical tools and data aren’t tied to a specific physical location. When you invest in your IT environment and support the scalability of your systems, you are improving the security, efficiency, and capabilities of your core operations. While small businesses may fear the risks of being first movers in technology adoption, the organizations that fail to invest in upgrading their technology at all often have the hardest time supporting their growth in the long run.
We unpack more in this article about the pitfalls to avoid as a small business considering the cloud transition. Don’t know where to start? These are the top 5 critical IT projects we recommend for small businesses.
Your IT infrastructure is a key enabler to business success. When your infrastructure is stable, you can focus on driving operational results. Typically, a small business is not able to optimize their infrastructure on their own without outside assistance. Just like you would turn to a mechanic to help tune and repair your car, you make a wise choice to turn to IT experts to ensure your IT infrastructure is working properly and aligned with your operational needs.
Benefits to investing in a managed service for business-critical systems include:
- Early Detection of Issues: Regular monitoring helps you identify problems early, before they trigger bigger and more difficult issues to resolve.
- Performance Optimization: Avoid downtime and prevent potential data loss by increasing the performance and stability of your systems.
- Cost Reduction: Downtime and repairs can be costly, but they are avoidable when issues are identified early. When you have in-depth visibility, you can critically examine what’s under-performing and be pro-active about addressing those issues.
- Informed Decision-Making: Gather more data from monitoring efforts to make informed decisions about future investments that further support your infrastructure stability.
- Compliance: Monitoring helps ensure that your IT environment is compliant with relevant industry regulations, such as data privacy and security laws.
Investing in Cyber Insurance
Simply put, cyber insurance functions to help reduce the financial risks of doing business online.
It is also a pre-requisite for many service providers seeking to engage in a plethora of highly regulated industries. As a widely valued liability policy, the process of qualifying and obtaining cyber insurance can be hairy and require multiple proofs. Learn more about cybersecurity insurance in our blog series:
- What Is Cyber Insurance & What Does It Cover?
- What Does Cyber Insurance NOT Cover?
- What To Do if You’re Denied Cybersecurity Insurance?
- How to Secure the Best Price for Cyber Insurance
Net Friends & Small Businesses
Net Friends is the technology success team that supports your small business and workforce. Contact us today to learn more about our managed IT services and our “world-class”-rated support center!
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