Managed services are now a must for small business. Small business communication, intellectual property, data, and the entire business environment they operate in is dependent on stable and reliable technology. Because the cost of downtime is so expensive, you must either be willing to take a tremendous risk and go without appropriate technology, or simply budget for your IT needs. The list of IT needs is expansive and growing. In my years of meeting with business leaders and owners, I have been amazed at the amount of IT providers that only care if you budget for their services. Looking at your IT as individual silos is a quick formula to end up with a major disaster, or total rebuild down the road. A holistic approach to your IT and your budget will allow you to make scalable, efficient and educated business decisions. Below is a list of the most common things every small business should build into their IT budget.
Having a forward thinking and proactive IT partner may cause the managed services line item to grow, however, the right partner will help you with the of rest the budget to make that as efficient, scalable and cost effective as possible. You will get the most bang for your buck here. You should be sure to look for a partner that has a detailed plan for how they will do more than just respond to the issues you put in front of them. Look for a partner that will build security and stability into your network.
Backups and Disaster Recovery
This is not a place you want to take lightly. The security of your small business and data is critical. You may be small, but that doesn’t mean you aren't a target. In fact, the majority of all security breaches target small businesses. It's important to prevent breaches, but it's imperative to have the ability to recover from a breach. There isn't a big enough budget on the face of the earth to prevent every possible breach, but you can make sure when it does happen that you are able to stay in business and get back up in running quickly.
While having a robust, thoughtful and fully budgeted disaster recovery plan in place is crucial, it is also important to budget for all the preventative measures as well. Anti-virus, web filtering, email filtering, device health monitoring, firewalls, and user training will help to keep you secure. While not every threat can be stopped, this line item in your budget will help you stay in business by building credibility and trust with your clients and customers. They want to know that you did your due diligence in protecting their information, credit cards, etc. They will forgive you if you are breached, but had a robust plan in place. What consumers won't forgive is negligence, or you skipping out on a layer of security to save a few dollars. You should take all the steps to business security that you can.
- Cell Phones
- Battery Backups
- Business Productivity
- Database Management
Upgrades and updates are a must. Technology moves at a rate that is hard to keep up with. Some upgrades are frivolous, while others have huge implications. You should have a budget each year for some expected and unexpected IT projects. Whether you are expanding, implementing new technology, or upgrading what you currently have, there is always work to be done!
- Remote Workers
All these additional line items may seem intimidating, but know that going the managed services route still is a cost saving, and overall better solution, for most small businesses. When working with an internal IT staff, for instance you are still going to incur all of the costs listed above, and then some.