Information technology (IT) is the foundation of operations for many companies. It can propel the organization to a new level when utilized effectively. On the other hand, if IT isn’t managed properly, it can quickly become an expensive anchor to growth.
Executives are generally frustrated with the cost involved with technology, but sometimes they unintentionally bring extra costs upon themselves.
These five common mistakes actually increase IT costs instead of reduce them.
1. Waiting for Something to Break
You’ve heard the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” For some things, that could be true, but technology is not one of them. When companies wait until their server goes down instead of regularly maintaining it, or wait until ransomware locks them out of their files before investing in security measures, they end up in an IT emergency.
Situations like these mean your employees aren’t working and orders aren’t being processed. Your IT team, on the other hand, is working around the clock to get you back to business.
On top of the payroll and lost business, you could also be paying extra for after-hours or emergency IT support. Or you may have to buy and install new equipment that you hadn’t budgeted for. Rush orders always increase costs.
2. Neglecting Mobile Devices
Most executives don’t see mobile devices as something to worry about. But they should. Every employee has at least one device that they’re carrying around the office and connecting to the network.
Do you enforce security policies on them? Do you know what sites they’re visiting on your network? Are they streaming music that’s causing the office’s Internet speed to grind to a halt? Internet bandwidth isn’t cheap, and I don’t know any executive who wants to pay more for Internet services.
When you don’t pay attention to these devices, you could end up with issues that translate to higher costs. Lower productivity, a need for additional Internet bandwidth, and security issues can arise.
3. Relying on Open Source Technologies
Sometimes companies use open source applications and platforms to reduce IT costs. While this may seem like a good way to cut expenses, those costs could show up in other ways.
Some open source software offers more functionality and customization. However, most lacks user-friendliness, compatibility with other systems, and integration options. The high level of customization could pose a problem as the company scales, or if the person who made the customizations leaves the company. Also, open source generally leaves updates and support in your court, which could mean additional IT costs.
4. Thinking the Cloud Solves All Problems
The Cloud is a wonderful thing. Businesses can access enterprise-level technology without having to purchase and maintain the infrastructure in-house. That’s great, but it won’t fix all problems.
Many people are drawn to the cost savings they’ve heard about, but that’s not always the case. When comparing cloud to on-premise options over a typical 3-5 year refresh cycle, they’re neck-and-neck.
It’s important to note that IT services costs rarely go down when the infrastructure moves to the Cloud. Investment in things like security, backups, and end-user support still have to be made. As with any business decision, there should be a compelling business reason to move to the Cloud.
5. Not Taking IT Security Seriously
Cyber security, Russia, and hacking are topics you can’t get away from these days. Business security threats are real. Ransomware and security breaches are crippling small businesses worldwide.
Yet many executives still have the “it won’t happen to me” attitude. According to Security Magazine, the average cost of data breach recovery for small and midsize businesses is $36,000 to $50,000.
Putting the right security measures in place to protect yourself costs a fraction of the anticipated recovery cost. Cyber threats are predicted to increase this year, so companies need to make sure their IT security plan is solid.
Mistakes like these generally happen when IT leaders aren’t brought into the board room. When executives and IT get together regularly to review the current situation and plan for the future, everyone is on the same page, working toward the same goal. Businesses can keep their budget in line and invest confidently.
As featured in March 12th issue of The Press-Enterprise.