Put plain and simple, without IT your business couldn’t operate. Whether it’s your internet, computer or smartphone, all businesses rely on technology these days. It has the ability to let you thrive in your market, but at the same time it could be your downfall, so it’s vital to make sure your setup is right for your structure.
The traveller needs to be mobile, the entrepreneur needs to be cost-effective and the grower needs to be able to expand. But with many options on the market it can sometimes be hard to find the right solution for you, especially if technology isn’t your forte. By asking yourself these five simple questions you can determine whether you’re in the right lane, or if it’s time for change.
1. Is it Accessible?
Where, when and how you can access your documents are the three most important factors of all. If you sign up for the cloud you have access to your programs, data and documents 24/7, providing you have an internet connection.
If you choose the hardware option of storing only on memory sticks, hard-drives and your computer, you are wholly reliant on these devices. Without them, you’re up the creek without a paddle.
Tip: Google Cloud and Dropbox are great cost-effective ‘cloud folders’.
2. Is It Backed-Up?
In the past year, 275 businesses in Europe have lost a combined 72,000 laptops, costing those organisations a total of $1.8 billion (InformationWeek, 2012). This is a common occurrence, with laptops not only being a well-known favourite for thieves, but also easily portable and thus more forgettable.
But this isn’t the only way you can lose data. Accidental deletion, computer crashes and even damage can cause data loss, and many learn the hard way. The simple solution is to develop a system that backs it up, even if it just using a free provider like Dropbox and Google Cloud routinely.
3. Is It Secure?
In today’s business world, data theft and cyber-attacks are rife. Research commissioned by the UK Government BIS department revealed that, in 2013, 87% of small UK-based firms experienced a data security breach, up 10% from 2012. So if you’re not secured, you could be in big trouble.
It’s worth having a chat with an IT consultant to see how secure your system really is.
If you choose to opt for the cloud, any reputable company will have security protocols already in place, to secure it 24/7. Depending on your line of work, it may be worth the investment, especially if you need to hold and store sensitive data.
4. Is It Expandable?
You always need a surplus of space which you can work into, regardless of what market you’re in. Make sure you keep tabs on how much space you have used, and how much space you have left.
For some companies, the need to rapidly expand how much data you can store over a short amount of time can be a necessity, for example if you experience an annual Christmas growth period.
If this is the case, you may need to seek out a scalable colocation provider to ensure sure you can expand immediately. It’s also possible to install a bigger hard drive, but it can take time and need expert help.
Tip: It’s imperative to get a good provider with true scalability to avoid a system crash, because not all clouds are equal.
5. Is it Host-Worthy?
For many businesses, their website is their pride and joy – shop front, billboard and portfolio, all rolled into one blissfully-designed masterpiece. But what if it crashed suddenly, your server got overloaded and your site was out of action?
Your website hosting should be in the right hands, ensuring that the upload speed is fast, the website is always live and that you can handle your levels of traffic. A great hosting provider can cost a pretty penny, but it’s often money well spent.