This may sound strange coming from a managed service provider, but outsourcing IT services is NOT a quick fix for all your IT problems. Some outsourced IT providers will simply take over what you are doing yourself. Sure, you will get rid of some tech headaches, but will your business really be in the best position to grow? That’s why you need to rethink your IT, not just outsource it. The right technology provider can help you through this process, as well as provide any outsourcing or other support you may need as a result.
Let’s look at the 10 most common IT practices that hold businesses back. Do any of these sound familiar?
1. Your IT Environment Is Too Complicated
How many vendors are you managing? IT vendors might include the providers of your firewall, network, file sharing, collaboration tools and more. Do their products “play well together” or cause endless headaches? We’ve seen clients come in the door managing more than 20 vendors and we’ve been able to reduce that to five.
Consider one company in Ottawa that was dealing with 28 different vendors: If we conservatively estimate that about nine hours per year is spent on each vendor, that’s more than 250 hours per year for this company to manage vendors.
By reducing the number of vendors and choosing ones that integrate well, you can not only reduce your total hours managing vendors, but also those per-vendor hours.
2. Your IT Isn’t Matching Your Work Environment
How is your team currently working? Remotely? In office? Hybrid? Does your IT infrastructure make sense for the way you work? Here’s an example: You have an on-premises server that your team used to work on primarily in-office. Then quarantines moved everyone to remote offices where they stayed. But, everyone is now VPNing into the office to connect with that on-premises server. That’s a mismatch.
3. Data Is Scattered and Difficult to Collaborate On
What inefficiencies exist in your business that block collaboration? Data access is often a big one. Is your team able to collaborate on files? Or are they passing them back and forth in emails or file-sharing sites? Are they sharing files via sneakernet or in a collaborative network?
4. Your Security Products Don’t Play Well Together
Look through your cyber security products. Do they talk to each other and share data, findings, analysis? What are the gaps between the technologies? When you cobble together different products, it can not only lead to gaps (and therefore vulnerabilities), but it often costs significantly more than a comprehensive system with compatible layers of protection.
5. You’re Not Even Aware That There Are Better Options
Do you have someone on your team who can watch, with an experienced eye, for innovations to streamline and fortify your IT infrastructure? This is often a gap because it’s difficult to attract, retain and afford that level of expertise in house. The right IT partner provides that innovation, keeps you from staying static or stuck in outdated systems and can lead you on a journey to get to your end goal.
6. You’re Not Proactively Looking for Vulnerabilities
“You” could refer to your team, your MSP or even yourself if you’re wearing too many hats. Cyber security is no longer just about blocking viruses or even about kicking hackers out of your systems (although those are still important). Today’s cyber security needs to be proactive, looking for vulnerabilities before they become exploited and fixing those holes. Take the Solar Winds breach, for example. The moment that vulnerability became known, we proactively went into the backend reporting of our clients’ systems to add more than 20 rules that monitored for and stopped any potential breach because of the Solar Winds hack. Within 48 hours, all our clients were protected.
7. You’re Not Keeping Up With Your Cyber Insurance Requirements
You have cyber insurance. That’s great. But if you don’t stay on top of your security, that insurance may not pay out. Most cyber insurance policies require that companies do their own due diligence to protect from cyber attacks. Insurance underwriters have been known to fight claims in court for a variety of reasons, including that the covered business did not take appropriate preventive measures.
8. You’re Not Meeting Your IT Compliance Standards
Most businesses need to meet some level of IT compliance, whether it is PCI compliance for credit card data, CMMC for working with the U.S. Department of Defense, FINRA or SOX compliance for financial data, HIPAA for health data and more. Noncompliance puts your business’s reputation at risk, and could lead to fines, penalties and lost business. Do you have someone on your team responsible for ensuring IT compliance? Do they have the time and expertise to do so effectively?
9. One Person Is the Keeper of Your Tribal Knowledge
Your IT infrastructure is the tribe in this metaphor. Is there a single person who knows why everything is how it is or how to fix issues that occur? You probably love this “medicine man” but what if that person leaves? Or is out sick for an extended period? Your business is put at risk. Maybe you’ve already experienced this, and you’re left with a system that no one really knows how to manage.
10. You’re Losing Your Competitive Edge Through Stagnation
Remember Blockbuster? The video rental giant that was unbeatable, at the top of the world—until it wasn’t. Netflix embraced and leveraged new technology while Blockbuster stagnated and was late to embrace change. And this was decades ago. The current pace of change and advances in technology make stagnation one of your biggest business risks. After all, new competitors entering your market will launch with the latest tech advantages and efficiencies. The right IT partner can leverage technology as a competitive edge. For instance, at a time when staffing is difficult, the right IT infrastructure can enable you to deploy teams nationally and internationally rather than just in your location.
Rethink Your IT With the Right Partner
When we onboard a new client, the first thing we do is look at their current IT environment and processes. What are you currently doing? How are you doing it? And why? Then we recommend how you can streamline your IT and optimize it so you don’t have to think about it in the future.
I often assure our clients that this doesn’t have to be a traumatic process: We don’t have to change the world. We just want to leverage technology to help your employees do more, go after larger market share, because of the solutions we’ve put in place. Technology should be a tool, not a hindrance. It shouldn’t hold you back, but propel your business forward. Often, that can mean doing more with less, deploying strategic IT solutions that provide the most value.Ready to fuel your growth with the right IT partner? Or just looking to learn more about SkyTerra? Contact us or book a meeting. We’d love to connect with you.