IT Support – Are You Relying On The Theological Option?

IT Support is now mission critical to most businesses, but few invest enough to run their IT with the minimum level of pain.

Unfortunately, running a computer system is never painless, but you can prevent many problems and ensure that they are not life threatening.

It’s all down to the right level of investment – “not too much, not too little.”

Business Computer Systems

Business computer systems are significantly more complex than even 5 years ago.

Consider all the elements that now form part of your computer system – Windows servers, PCs, Apple Mac’s mobile phones, emails, networks, broadband, hosted servers, hosted applications, remote access, etc.

In addition, the operating systems and applications are comprised of thousands of small software programs all of which are regularly updated by the software author, often on a monthly basis. That’s literally thousands of moving software parts.

The Malware Threat To Your Computer Network Is Immense

The threat from malware (viruses, spyware, Trojans, etc) has escalated at an alarming rate over the last few years.

There’s no doubt that there is more of it, but what’s worse is that the malware has become more dangerous.

In the past it was written by geeks who got a kick out of making a PC “blue screen.” Now it is used by organised criminal gangs to generate spam, steal information or identities and raid bank accounts.

Malware is more than irritating; now it’s dangerous and there is a lot more of it.

Today Your Computer System is Mission Critical

Almost all the companies are now totally dependent on their computer systems.

They use their computers system to communicate by email, take orders, make phone calls, receive payment and deliver product or service.

As a result they can only afford for their systems to go down for a few hours – if even that. These days clients expect instant answers, instant results and instant gratification. If you can’t deliver they will quickly move on to another company and you will lose the business, perhaps forever.

Many businesses have not yet absorbed this reality into their business strategy and their IT investment budgets.

3 IT Support Options For Managing your Computer Network

1. The ostrich option – pretend it’s not happening. Unfortunately this doesn’t stop malware.

2. The theological option – acknowledge there is a problem and pray that it will all be okay. Although inexpensive I haven’t seen this work yet.

3. Invest in your IT – this works! There is ample evidence IT investment works and commonsense tells us it has more chance of working than options 1 and 2. The real question is how much should you invest.

How Much Should You Invest in Information Technology?

If you invest too much it’s obviously a waste of money.

But invest too little and it’s also a waste of money – but less obviously so. The additional cost of under investment comes hidden in the higher risks:

• What is the cost of having your staff sitting idle for a day while your network is down and the overtime require catching up?

• What will be the impact of high stress levels inside your company?

• How much business will you lose while you are down?

• How many clients will lose confidence in you and plan to take their business elsewhere in the coming months?

Prepare a Detailed IT Budget

The only way to decide on how much you should invest in your IT is to prepare a detailed IT budget that takes into account at least the following:

• Hardware and software required for new employees

• 3 to 5 year rolling refresh of your hardware

• Any major IT service projects

• Training and recruitment – if you have your own IT department this will be a significant and unavoidable cost.

• Ongoing IT support

• Bandwidth requirements

• Disaster recovery readiness

The IT budget varies depending on the company, but I find that it is at least £1,000 per employee per annum, often more.

This amount shocks many small businesses, but I find that the cost of not investing is much much higher.