Five IT Anchors Holding Your Business Back
The signs that IT is holding your business back can be blatant or subtle. On the blatant side, you could actually see your people struggling. They’re slowed down by technology tools that crawl instead of hum. Operations stop with unexpected downtime.
Then there’s the subtle side, where you might just be looking at your numbers and wondering why your business isn’t as profitable as you think it could be.
Read on to learn about five IT anchors that could be holding your business back, and you’ll discover some places to uncover the source (or sources!) of your frustrations.
Anchor #1: Disappointment with Cloud Services
There are several ways that disappointment arises with cloud services. The first is in unmet expectations that the cloud is the answer for everything and that it’s going to save money. The other is in a poor cloud migration experience.
Detailed Planning Necessary for Cloud Success
A great cloud migration is the result of detailed planning and fastidious attention to how everything - and everyone - is going to interact with the new technology. Costs soar on cloud migrations when planning isn’t as thorough as it needs to be and when there isn’t enough attention to testing and training people how to use the new technology.
Another factor that will definitely deflate cloud expectations is when people find out that their internet connectivity can’t handle the increased traffic.
IT Support and Backup Can’t Be Neglected
Unrealistic expectations about the cloud also surface in the areas of security and IT support. More access to your applications and your data, means that you need to pay more attention to the security of the devices that are accessing your apps.
You’re still going to need IT support. It’s just going to look a little different. From time to time, you’ll most likely need to have IT troubleshoot issues and talk “tech” with your cloud vendors; your people will have questions and need help; and you still need data backup and disaster recovery measures in place.
Anchor #2: Outdated Technology
Using hardware until it breaks and neglecting to update and patch old software isn’t just an anchor holding you back. It could bring you down.
Outdated software (that can be your applications or the operating systems on your workstations and your servers) poses serious security vulnerabilities. Hackers look for unpatched software to find doors where they can enter devices, thereby gaining access to entire networks.
Aging Technology Doesn’t Save Money
You might think that you’re controlling costs when you decide to use old technology, but the opposite is true.
Aging technology can cost you more in the long run as it needs more attention to keep it running, and it inevitably becomes unpredictable. When it causes downtime, your people won’t be productive, and your customers could become frustrated, too.
Technology Contributes to Employee Satisfaction
Using outdated technology could also be negatively affecting your employee retention. Frustrations with technology can be enough for your best employees to look for a different job. People like to be enabled to do their jobs, and providing them with good technology helps them to do what they need to do -- and isn’t that what makes your customers happy?
Anchor #3: Data Breach
If your company experiences a data breach, it’s effect on your organization is going to be more like an explosion and a fire than an anchor, but we’ll call it an anchor for the sake of this article.
A data breach will take you out of business fast. How quickly you can get back to normal is dependent upon many factors, including how fast your IT company can isolate and clean up the breach, and the quality of your data backup and disaster recovery procedures.
Data Breach Comes with Unexpected Costs
The costs of a data breach include downtime and extra IT costs. Depending upon your situation before the breach, you may need to purchase new equipment and software. (See Anchor #2) Depending on your business and industry, you may have penalties and fees, and you may be non-compliant with regulations.
Legal costs can add up in a hurry if your customers are worried that the breach put them at risk for losing their proprietary information, or if their own systems were compromised because the hackers got into their network through yours.
A Damaged Reputation is Hard to Recover
The cost of a damaged reputation could be the most underestimated impact of a data breach. When your reputation is damaged, you can’t just recover trust. Relationships with customers and employees are ultimately based on trust, and asking for forgiveness is probably not going to be enough to get things back to the way they were before the breach.
Anchor #4: Poor Data Management
Mismanaging your data is an anchor holding your business back because it prevents you from being able to get the answers you need to make good decisions.
Data management is about tracking everything that’s going in and out of your business. If you’re using different methods to capture and report on materials and products - such as spreadsheets and manual checklists, in addition to your line of business software - the potential for errors is pretty big.
Poor Data Management a Source of Growing Pains
The signs of poor data management can show up when you’re trying to grow. You might accept a big influx of orders but then find that you can’t deliver as quickly as you promised. You struggle to scale. You also may be consistently late with delivery or inaccurate when you’re purchasing materials. Whether you buy too much or not enough, it’ll show up as increased costs and you’re not going to be as profitable as you would like to be.
Anchor #5: Ineffective Network Management
You might not think that network management could have an impact on your business success but it can. When your network is sluggish or unpredictable, it affects your whole business. You as a business leader could unknowingly be making decisions that set your business up for big disruptions.
Network Management Includes Connected Devices
Network management includes connectivity to the internet. If you aren’t aware of all of the devices that are connecting to your internet, you could be sacrificing the efficiency of your operations, not to mention security.
For example, if you don’t have policies or network separation in place for employees and guests to hook up to your WiFi, your critical operations could be competing with Netflix or streaming radio. In the area of security, unsecured devices could pose open doors to cyber threats.
Advanced Security with Sophisticated Network Management Tools
Proper network management is a key component of cyber security. Not only do you need to make sure that all the doors and windows to your IT systems are closed and locked, advanced security tools that use Artificial Intelligence (AI) can get to know the intricacies and normal traffic patterns of your network. That way when something happens that is out of the ordinary, you get an alert.
Pull Up the IT Anchors
Do you think any of these five IT anchors are holding your business back? Maybe. Maybe not. It can be hard to tell exactly what’s causing your frustrations. Access our executive webinar to learn how to uncover the source of your IT frustrations.
Need IT help for your Southern California business right now? Give us a call at 800-481-4369.
About Courtney Casey
In an industry dominated by men, Courtney Casey, Director of Marketing for Accent Computer Solutions, Inc., is making her mark on the world of information technology. Courtney has been immersed in the IT field most of her life and has been molded into the tech savvy expert she is today. She began working for Accent while earning her Bachelor's degree from California State University, Long Beach. Known in the Inland Empire as the "Tech Girl," Courtney is a regular columnist for the region's newspaper of record, The Press-Enterprise. Her columns address topical news trends, new technology products, and offer advice on how to embrace technology or avoid common IT pitfalls.