IT – love it, hate it, you run your business on it.
But it can also be a daily drain on your bottom line, as well as on your productivity, with smaller businesses particularly susceptible because of their lack of in-house technical expertise.
Read on to learn more about the IT mistakes that can cost your company dear – and how you can redress the balance at far lower cost!
Hardware & software management: time, money, risk
Resource is probably in short supply in your organisation when it comes to constantly managing and upgrading hardware and keeping the software that runs on it updated and patched.
To put this into perspective, in a recent post we cited industry publication IT Pro’s view that the typical IT spend of a small to medium business (much of which goes on precisely these kinds of management tasks) is around £548,000 per annum.
Industry analyst Gartner, for its part, reckons that; even a PC just sitting there largely unused and unmanaged will cost you the equivalent of £3950 a year to maintain!
But these time-consuming activities are not just costly – they’re risky, too.
Lack of skilled in-house IT resource pushes small businesses naturally towards a ‘break-fix’ model, where corrective management is typically only undertaken once a hardware or software problem is already causing an issue – or, in other words, when it is already injuring either productivity, or service delivery to the customer, or both.
Either way, your bottom line gets it in the neck – again.
Security you can’t afford to manage
Small businesses are now a big target.
Insurer Hiscox has reported that UK small businesses are hit by 65,000 attempted cyber attacks per day in 2018, with one small business being successfully hacked every 19 seconds.
Against that frenetic backdrop, add in BYOD (the use of personal mobile devices for business), app downloads, and cloud-based services like Office 365, Salesforce, Dropbox and many others, and the sheer administrative burden of managing users’ passwords, credentials, permissions, perimeters and privileges can send your security management costs stratospheric!
Just a single password reset, for example, can cost a smaller business over £50, according to this opinion piece in Infosecurity Magazine, and with Gartner reporting that 80% of total IT costs occur after the initial purchase, even correctly configuring security software so that it actually works can be a significant ongoing expense in itself.
Compliance failure and financial exposure
A study sponsored by Microsoft found that small businesses are losing the equivalent of over £19 billion in productivity each year because their lack of trained IT resource forces them to use non-technical employees in IT roles instead.
But lack of IT and technical training can result in more than just productivity loss – it can also open your business up to the financial burden of legal and regulatory fines.
As just one example, take GDPR. Putting untrained, unskilled personnel in charge of systems that process personally identifiable data not only increases the likelihood of a breach – it also increases the likely size of the penalty you would have to pay in the case of such a breach.
This is because the penalty level is decided by factors including “Technical and organisational measures that have been implemented by the organisation”
An absence of technically trained personnel – on-premise or outsourced – is hardly a convincing way to argue that your company has implemented such measures!
A panacea for all IT ills?
Alas, there is no ‘silver bullet’ to turn the complex discipline of IT into a universally simple benefit for all mankind – but there are things smaller businesses can do to make it less expensive, less burdensome, and less risk-prone.
A Managed Service Provider (MSP), for example, will constantly monitor your IT systems and networks for you for a modest, flat monthly fee, taking care of every operational aspect from support, to security, to patch management – but also proactively intervening to resolve issues before they hit your productivity, your customer relationships and your bottom line.
MSPs effectively become your day-to-day IT department, but because they concentrate extensive technical expertise under one roof, they’re also well placed to deliver advice, training and consultancy to help keep your business compliant, too.
To err is human, to really mess things up takes a computer, and mistakes cost money. Add those three bits of wisdom together and we’d be very surprised if you didn’t think it might be a good idea to make your IT somebody else’s problem sometime soon.