All small businesses rely on technology in some capacity. Whether you’re using technology for communications, accounting, file storage, or anything else, you need to take your IT setup seriously. Losing your data, experiencing a breach, or having to deal with downtime and being unable to access the digital resources you need can all lead to major expenses or cause your reputation to take a hit. For this reason, we’re going to break down five IT tips for small businesses.

1. Save Money on Your IT

While ensuring secure and effective IT is worth investing in, it’s one of those areas of business where spending can get out of hand if you’re not careful. It’s important to know where to save costs. For instance, if you’re looking to find an IT team to keep all of your systems running,  working with a managed services provider (MSP) often costs less than hiring a single salaried employee, making it a much more cost-effective option for small businesses. Other ways to cut your IT costs can include:
  • Switching from printing to utilizing Cloud storage services
  • Taking advantage of free software and apps for non-critical processes
  • Using automating software to free up employee time
  • Reviewing your subscription services to cut unnecessary costs
An MSP can also help you overlook your IT spending to help you find the areas where you might be stretching your budget.

2. Create an IT Strategy Aligned With Your Goals

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all IT strategy. Rather, you need to ensure that your unique plan is suited to the needs of your team, your business, and your overall aims. Working with a managed service provider allows them the opportunity to assess your IT needs from your perspective.  After learning about your priorities and your goals, as well as circumstances such as industry-specific regulations you need to comply with and the tools that you currently rely on, they can recommend the best solutions and options that aid your business growth, helping your business earn more money.

3. Seek Quantifiable Results

You should not continue searching for new IT strategies and solutions without having any real idea of what works and what doesn’t. You should be able to quantify your results, and an MSP can help you do that. They can show the indicators of improvements or degradations in your system, letting you know exactly where you should allocate your IT budget.  Whether you seek improvement on uptime rates, reduced time taken for individual processes, an increased digital collaboration between customers and colleagues, and more, and MSP can crunch the numbers to help you understand where you’re at and where you want to be. This way, you can better see how your IT improvements affect your bottom line, your customer satisfaction, and your overall indicators of business growth. Setting these indicators is a crucial part of knowing that your IT strategy is working as intended.

4. Conduct a Network Assessment

A major part of any IT strategy is taking a close look at the current state of your setup. Your network covers the hardware, software, and networking tools you use to make up your entire IT system. With so many different components working together, there are going to be vulnerabilities that cybercriminals could potentially exploit.  An assessment of your network can help find these weak points, dictating your security strategy from there. Depending on where your weaknesses are, your MSP will make suggestions as to how you can increase security. Aside from preventing breaches in the future, this stops you from overspending on cybersecurity by making sure most of your funding and efforts are directed towards the parts of the system that need it most.

5. Use MFA

MFA, or multi-factor authentication, effectively25 lends another layer of security on top of password protection. One of the most common ways that criminals get unauthorized access to an IT system is by stealing someone’s login, including their username and password. MFA creates another step, such as making sure that the individual is using a different device or separate account to verify their identity, before letting them in.  This additional factor can block those trying to breach your system with another layer of defense. Of course, ensuring that your team members are using strong passwords and educating them about phishing scams and other common ways of stealing passwords is important, too, but employing MFA can be a great defense to add on top of it. Effective IT management services, including data backup and disaster recovery, are a must-have for small businesses nowadays. The IT tips for small businesses above can make sure you keep your setup as secure, as reliable, and as effective as possible. Contact Axiom today to learn what an MSP can do for your small business.