We understand that every business, particularly during a pandemic, has a raft of issues to deal with on a weekly / daily / hourly basis. If IT is working, be it sluggish, then great – why worry? And if IT breaks, is it quicker to perform a DIY fix than join the queue waiting for assistance from your one-man band IT provider? 

Unfortunately, the result of delaying thorough IT fixes leads to inefficient working, frustrated staff members and can prove catastrophic if IT security is breached. 

Signs that your IT provision is inadequate are: 

  • Staff complain about underperforming IT 
  • Cyber security is not a central theme of policy and training 
  • Emails are not backed up 
  • Backups of data and emails are inconsistent 
  • Passwords are shared 
  • Software licences are not maintained 
  • Unapproved ‘Shadow IT’ is used 
  • IT kit warranties are out of date 

The list could go on. Basically, if little thought is given to IT provision or security then chances are there will be many areas that are harming your business. 

Firstly, take stock 

Reviewing what you have is a good place to start, and it really doesn’t take that long. What kit do you have? Is it in warranty? Have all upgrades and updates taken place? Does the kit fit the bill? Are staff using their own devices which they consider better able to do the job? 

Do staff members have the software they need to do their jobs properly and does the software have the correct licences in place? 

Are backups and security being addressed? This short sentence embraces a host of questions about where, when and how, PLUS passwords (are they unique and how often are they changed?). 

And what is your IT support provision? Are you carrying this out yourselves or do you have a busy one-man band to rely upon? 

A lot of questions, but taking stock really does highlight areas for concern. 

Make a plan 

Change doesn’t happen overnight, but change does need to happen. By planning for change this also allows you to budget. Plus, tell your team what’s happening; they’ll be motivated to learn that their moans and groans are being listened to.  

Decide what issues are the most urgent and prioritise. We’d always put security at the top of the list – without it you are constantly at risk of a potentially devastating attack. But security takes many forms and having up-to-date kit will help you to take advantage of the latest IT security developments. Yes, it can appear a bit of a chicken and the egg scenario but you can always change passwords – that’s a good place to start! 

Policies and procedures 

Make sure that IT provision is never left out of the conversation again. Put policies and procedures in place to ensure machines are regularly updated and upgraded, that passwords are unique and regularly changed, and that backups are taking place and are secure.  

Staff training must incorporate IT security and encourage a no-blame culture – staff must be able to report any security issues with ease and confidence. 

Budgets should include the purchase of IT kit, software and support – this will help prevent emergency situations where machines fail and security is breached. 

Too much to handle? 

Yes, this does sound like A LOT to do and we are always here to help. Technology Business Reviews allow us to work with businesses to determine where they are, what needs to be done, in what order, and how much it will cost. We can also help with staff training, policies and procedures. Read the example below of a business which we recently came across and who we helped… 

Company X (name changed for the purposes of anonymity) 

Company X were introduced to Net Primates last year. Previously being looked after by a one-man band who was always too busy to help, the MD was wasting time trying to sort out email and calendar issues.  

They were in a mess with no plan to change. Their cyber security needed A LOT of improvement, and their hardware was in a muddle. Email files were in public clouds and were not backed up. Passwords were being shared left, right and centre. And some of their software didn’t have the right licences. 

Firstly, Net Primates set up Microsoft 365 Enhanced Security. Not only did this ensure fully licenced software with the latest security in place, but it also gave team members adequate mailbox quotas. Systems were then monitored and support given where necessary.  

Business grade kit was planned for with one third of company systems being replaced over the past 6 months, and the rest part of an ongoing renewal plan.  

As the business restructured and moved premises Net Primates helped by setting up messaging, VoIP and a jobs logging system. 

Data storage was moved off of public clouds onto a system where appropriate privileges and backups are in place. 

This example represents how business IT can fail to keep up with business progress if it’s not given the time and attention it needs. However, it also demonstrates how failings can be rectified and that great IT support can aid business growth.