Is Your IT Provider Spending More Time in Your Boardroom or Watering Your Plants?

December 12th, 2018
Is Your IT Provider Spending More Time in Your Boardroom or Watering Your Plants?

If you’re like many small and medium-sized business owners, you view your IT support provider much like the cleaning company that straightens the office and waters the plants. You get the service you need and you pay the bill.

As long as things are working, this approach seems fine. But when things go wrong, it can feel like you’re living in a nightmare. Suddenly techs are everywhere trying to contain the latest data breach or clean up that virus, while your employees sit idle and your customers aren’t able to be taken care of. You’re losing money by the minute and by the time this is done, even without including the potential IT bill, your company may have lost thousands of dollars – as well as having stressed employees and unhappy customers.

“How could this have happened?” you think. “And how can I make sure it never happens again?”

The truth is there is no way to prevent every tech emergency, every security breach, or every IT problem. What you can do, though, is plan for those problems in advance and decide how you will handle them before you have to.

And you can give your IT provider a seat at the boardroom table.

One of the biggest mistakes too many companies make is not realizing that an outsourced IT provider needs to accomplish the same thing an in-house IT department needs to accomplish. An in-house department would automatically have a seat at the boardroom table, but outsourced IT providers aren’t often given one.

If your IT provider isn’t already part of your ongoing business planning, it’s time to add another chair at your boardroom table. However, it’s important that you have an IT provider who is going to be focused on a proactive strategy so that your company isn’t constantly running around putting out fires.

Remember, your goal for them isn’t to just water your plants, they’re here to make a difference in how well your company runs. And they can’t do that without a chair in the boardroom.

A True IT Partner’s Top Focus - Protecting Your Company’s Profitability!!!

First and foremost, your IT partner should always be strategizing on how to make sure your company can stay efficient and profitable. Expensive issues like technology problems or bottlenecks and inefficiencies can quickly drain your company’s profitability. Its not enough that your IT provider is there to react when things go wrong, they need to be continually reviewing the risks to your business and preventing the issues before it leads to your company burning through cash.

Critical Areas where your IT Partner should be Protecting Your Company’s Profitability:

  • Leveraging Technology to Make Your Team More Efficient and Remove Time sinks & Bottlenecks
  • Proactively Assessing and Protecting Against Cyber Security Threats
  • Preventing Data Loss with Backup & Disaster Recovery Planning
  • Predictively Managing & Replacing Technology Before It Fails on You (Lifecycle Management)

These aren’t the only areas where your IT partner can be protecting your company’s profits, but they are some of the most important ones. Here’s why…

Leveraging Technology to Make Your Team More Efficient & Remove Time Sinks or Bottlenecks

New technology is arriving on the scene at a startling pace, leaving most business owners feeling overwhelmed and confused. Many small and medium-sized business owners know that technology could be giving them a competitive advantage in the marketplace, but they aren’t sure where to begin.

  • Could the team better collaborate by moving more things to the cloud?
  • Are there steps in the company’s workflow that could be removed or automated by a chance in technology?
  • Is there technology that could help the company manage even more business without having to add more employees?

These questions and many more should be answered in the boardroom in collaboration with your IT provider.

The key is finding the right IT partner - one that understands the complexity of the technology landscape, can ask the right questions, and implement solutions that improve customer experiences and the bottom line.

When you aren’t just using technology, but leveraging its power, you’re truly on your way to exponential business growth.

Proactively Assessing and Protecting Against Cyber Security Threats

From the Equifax hack in 2017, to data breaches at Home Depot and Target, there’s no doubt that high-profile hacking has been well publicized. However, small and medium-sized businesses are quickly becoming a preferred target for many hackers.

The reason? Most small and medium-sized businesses are easy targets, lacking the support of a dedicated IT staff for network monitoring and cyberattack prevention.

Instead, many small and medium-sized businesses either assume they are too small to attack or simply resolve to handle situations as they arise. However, the reality is that they’re the victims of the majority of attacks, and new cyber-attacks and threats are constantly coming out at even faster rates.

With so many cyberattacks happening every year, and with many small businesses being wildly unprepared for these threats, is it any wonder, then, that 60 percent of small businesses that suffer a cyber-attack go out of business within 6 months, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission?

Managing risks this complex needs to start with your leadership team. To that point, a recent report by PWC advises, “Cyber risk is a business issue, not just a technology issue. Market leaders are finding that cyber risk management needs to be owned by the C-suite rather than by IT.”

That’s why today’s best IT allies are the ones who spend most of their time in the boardroom with your leadership team, helping your company build a strong cybersecurity culture, mapping out strategies to build cyber resiliency with systems and operations designed to detect threats and respond to attacks in ways that minimize disruption and financial loss.

If your IT provider isn’t strategizing cybersecurity in your boardroom, they’re not looking out for the health of your business any more than your cleaning company.

Preventing Data Loss with Backup & Disaster Recovery Planning

The integration of data and technology into every facet of your business makes it more critical than ever to have a focused plan to recover data quickly, from a vast array of sources.

While most IT companies focus on the technology itself - backup systems, cloud integration, and recovery process details, the key to truly nailing backup and disaster recovery lies in the strategic planning that drives those technology choices.

That’s why it’s so important to choose an IT provider that prioritizes a strategic focus first and works directly with the business owner or key members of the executive team to ask the right questions.

  • What data needs to be backed up?
  • Where does the data live?
  • How is this data currently being backed up?
  • What is the projected time to recovery for each data type?
  • Which types of data are mission-critical?
  • What are the projected costs of downtime, lost productivity, and recovery for each data type?
  • What are the risks and rewards for various backup and recovery methods?
  • How are we going to regularly test that all of these systems are properly protecting the business?

Understanding the answers to each of these questions makes it much easier to plan appropriate solutions and oversee their implementation in cooperation with your IT support team.

Predictively Managing & Replacing Technology Before it Slows Down or Fails on You (Lifecycle Management)

Too many companies work with IT providers who treat technology the same way that a cleaning companies treats carpets – they do basic maintenance, maybe occasionally clean a spot here or there, but give no thought to age, lifespan, or how to minimize business disruptions when making replacements. That’s not their job. Their job is viewed as to simply keep cleaning.

Because your technology plays such an important role in just about every aspect of your business, you cannot work with an IT provider whose approach is the same as a carpet cleaner. It’s absolutely vital that you plan intelligently for the lifespan and replacement cycles of your hardware and software.

Rather than simply replacing systems as they break down, lifecycle management means making a plan to proactively purchase new hardware and software on a set schedule that takes the lifecycle of your equipment and your business needs into consideration.

Working with your management team to allocate appropriate resources, a proactive IT provider can help you inventory your existing systems and create a solid lifecycle management plan for the next 3-5 years or more. That way you’re always working with the technology you need to setup your team for success and drive higher company profitability.

Closing Thoughts…

It’s safe to say that technology will continue to evolve and change as time goes on. The questions is, will you choose to add the chair to your boardroom that can help you take advantage of technology’s benefits or will you continue to pay a provider that is content to maintain the status quo?

If you’re ready to take a more dynamic and proactive approach to your technology needs and you’re located in the Jacksonville, FL area, Antisyn is here to help. Our IT services include full IT support, IT strategy, and cybersecurity services. Reach out to us and see how our passionate team can help your business.