As a business owner or C-suite leader, you don’t need to know everything about IT to ensure your technology is benefiting your business — but you do need to know a little bit. Even if you have an in-house IT team or a great consultant on your side, it’s worth having a basic understanding of the issues you might face and your options for solving them.
In this blog post, we’ll go over some common issues and help you get “IT literate,” so that you can ask the right questions and make sure your internal staff (or vendor) is working to benefit your business.
Five IT Issues to Know About (Even if You’re Not an IT Professional)
1. Unscalable Infrastructure
Just like buildings and transportation systems, technology systems need infrastructure to function. In the case of IT, ‘infrastructure’ refers to the hardware, software, and any other equipment or processes required to keep your business running smoothly. As a business owner, you need a technical advisor who can help you decide which applications can be moved to Public Cloud (AWS, Microsoft Azure) and what to keep on premises. The right decision is typically driven by a combination of business requirements and financial considerations.
The most common infrastructure management issue for businesses (just like for cities) is scalability: as your business grows, your infrastructure can become overloaded, and the functionality, speed, and reliability of your system can suffer. In some cases, this overload can cause frequent outages that affect a business’s bottom line.
That’s when you know it’s time to bring in an experienced consultant to help you manage, monitor, and scale your infrastructure.
3Qube’s methodology takes a crawl, walk, run approach, setting your business up with scalable management solutions that meet your current needs (crawl) but can also be optimized to scale with you as your business grows (walk) and to layer in the necessary additional security when it reaches enterprise status (run).
2. Unexpected (and Expensive) Downtime
Whether it’s an email outage or a retail website crash, a single hour of downtime can cost a small or medium business (SMB) anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over $50,000. In addition to any directly-linked sales losses, there are financial implications to the loss of employee productivity and the damage to a company’s reputation when systems go down.
One of the most frustrating aspects of these outages is the difficulty pinpointing exactly what’s caused them, and perhaps more importantly devising a preemptive solution that can help you avoid them in the future. This is especially crucial when your business supports emergency services, as in the case of Mach Alert — when their customer base outgrew their system, they knew they had to enlist a solution that was both secure and reliable, so they could keep helping their clients save lives.
No matter the industry, your business can’t afford any downtime, which is why we architect your IT infrastructure with high availability from the ground up, build robust processes to avoid a single point of failure, and deploy proactive monitoring tools to take the right action when there is a potential for an issue. Our targeted assessments can identify the bottlenecks in your current system and predict and solve failures before they occur.
3. Difficulty Recovering from Disasters
Disaster recovery is one of the key elements of any solid business strategy. Disasters — anything from cyber attacks to natural disasters — happen more often than you might think, and they can have a severe impact on business continuity, costing an average of $9,000 in data recovery fees.
Even businesses that have backup centers can be at risk, as in the case of one financial institution that located their backup site too close to their main production site, leading to significant data loss when the business experienced several disasters in a row.
Your best protection against irreparable damage and loss is a robust backup paired with an actionable disaster recovery plan. 3Qube’s consultants can help you build an executable plan that’s customized to your business’s data management system, so you’ll never have to scramble to retrieve lost information.
4. The Wrong Cloud Migration Strategy
Most business leaders know that, if they’re not making use of the cloud, they should migrate soon — cloud computing enables users to access shared files, store huge amounts of data, and collaborate with colleagues from across the globe in various time zones, all online. But the question of how to migrate, which strategy is right for your business, has no one right answer.
Different strategies call for different levels of investment, both financially and in terms of time and effort. In most cases, businesses should adopt a hybrid cloud strategy, moving or migrating a few applications to the cloud while keeping some legacy applications onsite. The pros and cons of each approach need to be clearly discussed and analyzed before making a final decision.
We can help you assess your current information management system and your business’s hosting needs, then compare that against various cloud migration strategies. We’ll advise you on the best cloud solution for your unique needs, whether that’s public or private, or a hybrid cloud model.
5. Cybersecurity Threats
As more and more elements of our businesses (and our lives) move online, cybersecurity threats have been ramping up as well. Whether it’s an entire city shut down by ransomware, your next-door neighbor falling for a sophisticated phishing scam, or malware infecting an entire hospital’s network through one employee email, the threat is real.
In the case of one construction company, hackers managed to install malware onto the business’s computers through their connected network, and from there they were able to capture the company’s online banking login details via a keylogger software. In the seven days it took for the business to hire a cybersecurity consultant, the criminals stole $550,000. With the help of the cybersecurity firm, the money was recovered, but the cost of the damage control was not.
Our team can work with you to develop and implement a strategy for proactive monitoring of your business’s IT infrastructure against all kinds of cybersecurity threats, and help you close any loopholes before the cybercriminals hit. And if you do get hit, a robust backup and recovery policy will be a lifesaver, minimizing downtime significantly.
Even if IT isn’t your area of specialty, it can be useful — especially if you’re in a leadership position — to have a basic understanding of the most common problems businesses face when it comes to tech.
With this crash course, you’ll be better prepared to lead your company through future challenges and mitigate loss and damage with the help of qualified IT professionals.