Almost every CEO in the United States is preparing for a potential recession in the next 12 to 18 months, according to a recent survey from The Conference Board at the Associated Industries of Massachusetts. Each month, AIM rates their members' business confidence and it is trending downward as members brace for a recession. From their site: "The AIM Business Confidence Index (BCI) lost 1.4 points to 53.9, its lowest level since June. The Index now rests 5 points lower than its level of a year ago. The decrease reflects the swirl of contradictory elements roiling the economy – surging inflation, rising interest rates and shrinking economic output on the one hand and a persistently strong demand for workers on the other."
This confidence has eroded to lows last seen during the Great Recession, the survey found. The Fed’s fight against high inflation has been getting tougher, stoking worries that the rapid fire of aggressive interest rate hikes will lead to a downturn.
We offer this report to our clients, and to those we hope to serve, as an advisory to help bring focus to the IT infrastructure and security investments that seemingly become even more paramount in a downturn. In this economy, businesses need to be as smart as possible with their spending. One area where companies cannot afford to cut corners is in their IT strategies and technology investments, deployment and best practices. By avoiding these seven costly IT mistakes, your business will be in a much better position to compete in this economy.
Here are seven costly IT mistakes that can be easily avoided with some forethought and planning.
1. Not properly investing in security
Not investing in security can be very costly for a company. In this economy, it is even more important to make sure that all of your systems are secure and protected from hackers and other cyber-attacks. Failing to do so can result in lost data, stolen identities, and other serious problems. For example, a recent study by the Ponemon Institute found that the average cost of a data breach was $3.8 million. Not prioritizing cybersecurity is a large problem in the small and medium sized business category. With data breaches becoming more and more common, businesses need to prioritize cybersecurity. This means investing in the latest security technologies and training employees on how to spot and avoid threats.
2. Failing to plan for disasters
Disasters can happen at any time, and it is important to have a plan in place in case of an emergency. Failing to plan for disasters can result in lost data, damaged equipment, and even business closure. Make sure you have a plan in place so that you can quickly and efficiently recover from any type of disaster.
One step that IT directors should take in properly planning for a data disaster is to create a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. This plan should include detailed instructions on how to recover from a variety of disasters, such as a data breach, a fire, or a natural disaster. It is also important to test your disaster recovery plan regularly to make sure that it will actually work in an emergency.
3. Understaffing IT departments
Understaffing IT departments can lead to many problems for a company. Not only can it be difficult to get work done when there are not enough people to do the job, but it can also be very expensive to hire outside contractors when there is an urgent need. In addition, understaffing can lead to security vulnerabilities and other problems, such as data breaches.
It can be difficult to get work done when there are not enough people to do the job. Understaffing IT departments can lead to many problems for a company, including data breaches and other security vulnerabilities. Failing to address understaffed IT departments can be costly for a company, so it is important to take action as soon as possible. A co-managed IT solution may be worth exploring.
4. Having out-of-date systems and software
Having out-of-date systems and software can be very costly for a company. Not only will you have to pay for upgrades, but you may also experience compatibility issues and other problems. In addition, using old software can make it more difficult to protect your data from cyber-attacks.
Out-of-date computer and network systems can pose a number of risks to businesses. For example, using outdated software can make it more difficult to protect your data from cyber-attacks. Additionally, out-of-date systems may be less efficient and more difficult to use, which can lead to decreased productivity. Additionally, using old hardware can cause compatibility problems and other issues.
5. Overlooking the cloud
The cloud is a term used to describe the use of remote servers to store and access data and applications. This can be a great option for businesses because it allows them to access information and applications from any location, and it can also help them to save money on IT expenses. In addition, using the cloud can help businesses to become more efficient and agile.
Overlooking the cloud can be a mistake for many companies. The cloud can provide many benefits, such as increased flexibility, scalability, and cost savings. In addition, the cloud can help to protect your data from disasters and make it easier to recover in the event of an emergency.
6. Lack of employee training
Lack of employee training can lead to many problems for a company. If employees are not properly trained on how to use new systems and software, they may make mistakes that can be costly. In addition, if they are not familiar with company policies and procedures, they may violate them and put the company at risk. It is important to provide employees with the training they need to properly use new systems and software. In addition, it is important to train them on company policies and procedures. By doing this, you can help to reduce the risk of mistakes and policy violations.
7. Not having a sound budget for IT
How much should a small business spend on information technology? No business wants to invest more than necessary, yet too many businesses we see are critically underspending, while expecting best in class performance. In which areas do I invest my precious IT funds?
Investing wisely requires insights and knowledge that experts such as our team can offer, to help make the best decisions. The rule of thumb may vary according to the industry you are in, and the business goals of the company. In small business, it is suggested that a 4-6% average (of top-line revenue) is a great recommended guideline, but the final number will depend on your company's individual needs and goals. The real answer lies in understanding where technology investments should be made in order for your computer network, or IT infrastructure, to be safe and secure while providing the resources for your company to operate and thrive.
Bonus #1: Not Preparing for Change
The future is coming, and it means change. Nothing is constant and there are no crystal balls, yet we can plan to some degree, with contingencies, too. Not preparing for change is a mistake that many companies make, especially when it comes to IT planning. The world is constantly changing, and companies need to be prepared for changes in the economy, technology, and other areas. Failing to prepare for change can result in lost opportunities, missed deadlines, and other problems.
There are additional costly mistakes that belong on the list, to be sure. This is why we conduct a business and technology review with each client, and for the people we want to serve who are not yet in our client portfolio.
Bonus #2: The Need to Update UPS WorldShip or FedEX Shipping Manager
As companies strive to manage costs and improve efficiencies they are turning to UPS WorldShip and FedEx Ship Manager for help. This shipping management software regardless of your preferred vendor choice needs to be kept current. These software applications often are the last to be upgraded in an organization. These applications manage your shipping databases and cannot be upgraded to more than two revisions at time. When an issue arises, only the latest most current version is available, and often because upgrades have not been done regularly requires UPS/FedEx interaction to get old versions of software.
Regardless of your shipping software, it must be kept up to date to minimize shipping output disruptions.
Shipping software is often one of the most overlooked aspects of a company's IT infrastructure, but it's one of the most important. Upgrading to the latest shipping software can help businesses stay ahead of the curve and avoid shipping output delays.
Let's add these three points as you consider your IT environment:
The Problem and The Solution
Perhaps you are frustrated with your current IT support strategy because the problems seldom seem to be fully resolved. Your support team seems to always recommend buying more hardware or software, and you can't keep up with business demands for IT compliance and the ever-changing technology landscape.
Now, with our Managed IT Services, you can finally rest easy (and sleep better!) in knowing that all of your IT issues are being handled by a team of trusted IT experts. We'll take care of everything for you so that you can focus on what's important - running your business and keeping your customers happy.
Let’s Find Your Optimal Solution for IT Vigilance and Performance
If you are ready to stop making costly mistakes with your IT infrastructure and let us manage it for you. Our Managed IT Services will protect your data, optimize your systems, and provide 24/7 support so that you can concentrate on what you do best.
We can help you in all areas of IT support, including:
Your best next step is to schedule a no-obligation phone appointment to discuss your IT priorities. Simply go to www.ctsservices.com/techreview or call us at 508-528-7720.
CTS Services, Inc. is a full-service IT support and managed services provider offering remote monitoring and management services, on-site support, and a complete hardware repair depot. Visit us at www.ctsservices.com
Our blog posts are written by several members of our team. Please contact us if a particular post or topic is of further interest. We're here to help keep your business up and running.