Today’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face stiff competition from larger companies that have access to more resources. Developing a reliable IT infrastructure doesn’t solve that problem, but it will give your SMB more opportunities to compete against your industry’s monolithic organizations.
Unless you already have a background in IT, you probably don’t know how to establish an infrastructure that will make your business more efficient, secure and innovative. As long as you learn the basics of IT infrastructure for SMBs, you can leave the details to the experts.
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Decide Whether to Upgrade or Rebuild Your IT Infrastructure
If your SMB already has an IT infrastructure, then you need to decide whether you want to upgrade it or invest in a rebuild. Several factors should influence your decisions, including:
- The age of your computers, servers and other equipment.
- Whether legacy systems are stifling your company’s productivity.
- How much money you’re budgeting for IT improvements.
- Whether you plan to stay at your current location or want to move to a new office space.
Many SMBs find that they get great results from updating their systems. Depending on how you answer the above questions, though, it may make more sense to scrap your current system and start over.
Find Security Solutions That Will Protect Your Data
Ransomware, cyberattacks and data leaks affected several high-profile companies last year.
Don’t assume that cybercriminals only target big organizations.
In fact, criminals have learned that they can profit from attacking SMBs that don’t have robust security solutions.
Unless you have an extremely talented cybersecurity expert on your IT team, you should consider outsourcing network management services that can enhance your data security.
A reliable network manager can also decrease downtime and improve employee productivity. Plus, it often costs less to outsource network management than it does to hire a full-time expert.
Consider the Benefits of Off-Site Data Storage
On-site data storage has its benefits. Some companies prefer having direct access to their data. They also like that they can back up data and add storage without much difficulty. If you decide to take that route, just make sure your IT team has the right experience for the job.
More and more SMBs, however, are choosing off-site data storage because it:
- Doesn’t cost as much as buying on-site servers.
- Can automatically make backup copies of data.
- Protects data when a disaster (earthquake, storm, fire, etc.) damages the office.
It’s also possible to use a combination of on-site and off-site data storage. Before you make that decision, though, you should talk to a professional who can give you informed advice. You may find that your business doesn’t need to use a multi-pronged approach.
Make a Policy to Review Your IT Infrastructure Regularly
The topics that affect IT infrastructure for SMBs will change over time. Technology’s rapid evolution makes it necessary for you to review your IT infrastructure regularly. At the very least, you should have a policy that requires talking to an IT specialist once a year.
Most years, you probably won’t have to make significant changes. You may, however, want to make minor adjustments to enhance your network’s security. Eventually, you will reach a time when you need to spend a fair amount of money on upgrades. Having a specialist perform an audit will help you determine what changes you need to make from year to year.
The importance of IT infrastructure for SMBs isn’t going to disappear. IT will only become increasingly crucial to business success.
The sooner you learn about your business’s infrastructure, the sooner you can get ahead of trends and start beating your competitors.