The Basic Essential IT Systems for Businesses
No matter what industry you’re in, all modern businesses rely on information technology.
To find out what IT needs propel your business, an IT system analysis can be helpful. These are designed to determine and understand your business needs, so better-informed decisions can be made about new investments.
Here are some of the basic technologies you may need:
Business networks need to run at optimal speed to encourage better purchasing decisions. To provide the best fit for your corporate needs, invest in high-speed equipment.
The arrival of NBN has seen the importance of high-speed internet access for business owners. While DLS remained the most common connection for Australian businesses in 2016, FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) was used by 30%.
Fibre offers key advantages for small business owners, including speed, capacity and signal integrity. As the demand for more efficient and reliable services increase, high speed networks are vital for supporting the future growth of any businesses.
With the pace at which society progresses, small businesses must stay relevant. High speed computers with plenty of memory and fast processors make it easier to keep up with daily tasks. Business owners need to leverage computers and IT as essential tools to innovate and evolve, or you’re at risk of getting left behind the competition.
Depending on your needs, you may wish to invest in both a desktop computer and a laptop. Look for comparable processing power and memory for laptops. This will ensure a seamless remote experience between both hardware tools.
Cyber threats are a growing concern for Australian businesses.
To keep your business tools and valuable data and information safe, security products such as virus protection, anti-spy ware and anti-spam filters are necessary.
Common cyber security threats to be aware of may include:
- Malware: Short for malicious-software, malware hosts multiple different viruses including worms, spyware and trojans – a virus that can trick users to allow it onto business systems.
- Phishing: When malicious links or infected files are downloaded or viewed, usually by email. These infected files inject systems with the malware.
- Password Attacks: This can be done through guessing passwords, dictionary attacks (program password cracker) and keylogging, where hackers track user’s keystrokes including login IDs and passwords.
- DDoS Attacks: Distributed Denial of Service attacks involve preventing users from accessing certain network services by flooding them with meaningless traffic. Many DDoS attacks are similar to ransomware and have the potential to cripple a business.
It’s crucial your business data is secure and backed up. To minimise or eliminate common cyber security threats, consider the following:
- Spam filters: Reduce the amount of spam and phishing emails to your business.
- Online education: Educate staff on how to be safe online. Include best online practices for work computers, devices and emails, how to create good passwords and the importance of reporting suspicious online activity.
- Put security measures in place: Outline processes for acceptable access standards for business data, emails and Internet. This will keep all staff on the same page.
- Managed IT services: Small business owners who invest in a specialised IT provider are in a better position to supervise daily network requirements. IT providers can manage data security, business networks and storage. This prevents potential attacks, keeps hardware/software updated and resolves IT problems efficiently.
- Invest in insurance: Cyber security insurance is often overlooked by small businesses but can be helpful to recoup losses or legal fees associated with data breaches.
Server vs. Cloud Storage
Data and information can be stored on a business server or hosted on a cloud server.
Servers are physical devices stored at your business. IT companies are usually needed to manage and run updates. Because the physical aspect is left on the premises, strict security is its most prevalent benefit.
Businesses with server hosting are more compliant to a data recovery plan. They’re useful to increase security and reliability, manage viruses and spam, organise data backups and consolidate storage and resources.
In comparison, cloud storage can offer more flexibility and better data access. Businesses liaise with a cloud storage provider who handles all upgrades and maintenance.
Cloud storage is a cost-effective solution for small to medium business owners. Other benefits include scalability and remote data security. Compared to local storage, cloud storage is easy to set up and doesn’t require additional time or effort to maintain.
If small businesses want to stay ahead of the curve, a user-friendly website is a must. In fact, ABS data shows 31% of all businesses have a web and social media presence in 2016.
Consider your website a virtual shopfront or business card and invest in it accordingly. Sites that are mobile-friendly and updated regularly with high quality content will naturally perform better.
Choose a dynamic content based website, through popular platform such as WordPress or Drupal, that enable a CMS-based (Content Management System) site. Maintain a regular blog to position yourself as an industry leader and increase lead growth by up to 126%.
Is There Anything Else?
Depending on the nature of your business you may have additional IT requirements. High performing or large companies could benefit from CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems or marketing automation software.
The need to use, secure and protect corporate information is something every business owner will face. And as reliance on technology grows, ensuring you have the essentials will encourage smoother, more efficient business operations on a day-to-day basis.