SMBs: Learn from the IT Mistakes Made by Other Businesses

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    Top Five Ways to Keep Your Data Safe

    After reading several blogs and articles this week, I’ve learned that many small to midsize businesses (SMBs) tend to learn as they go—especially when it comes to technology. And often, those lessons can be costly.

    In a LinkedIn Blog written by Boost IT CEO Russell Shulin, I found a list of six major technology issues often overlooked by SMBs that can bust budgets and deeply affect business. Shulin explains that each is one lesson that he’s experienced, or seen experienced by others. Tips SMBs should consider include:

    • Paying for unlimited use instead of per use whenever possible—especially for phone support, cloud services and backup.
    • If IT isn’t your company’s strength, find someone who can help you update and use technology to grow your business.
    • Take IT security seriously. Have someone skilled in this area to create a plan that covers every possible area, and budget accordingly.
    • Be proactive, not reactive, in managing your technology. Keep things up-to-date, adopt new technology, and hire someone who stays abreast of the latest and greatest.
    • Understand the real costs of down time when it comes to your network, your website or your Internet. Not being able to access files or customers can cost a company serious money.

    The last tip I’ll discuss was actually Shulin’s first, but I saved it because it’s one that it seems many companies, including enterprise-level ones, don’t truly understand: Know how long it will actually take to restore company servers or important files and data from backup.

    After an outage for whatever reason, backup and recovery is extremely important to keeping a business going. For even small businesses, time is money. A storm, fire or other catastrophe can happen, and it’s important for any business to know how long it might take to get servers up and running and business back to functional.

    An article on BizTech explained how a Florida-based law firm, Vernis & Bowling, suffered a severe outage after Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Getting information to its 16 other offices across the U.S. took quite a few days. So the company later sought a way to ensure that its data could be more easily retrieved in the case that any of its offices went down for any reason. The firm decided to use a multilayered approach to backup via a couple of cloud-based backup tools and NAS systems.

    The article goes on to explain other SMBs and their choices for backup and recovery, including other cloud-based backup tools. As the CFO of Garrand marketing and advertising in Portland, Maine, Susan Brown, said:

    Backup might not be glamorous, but it’s critical. More and more clients want us to specify in contracts how we protect their data. I think it’s smart on their part, and we’re proud to show them what we have in place to ensure all data is secure and available.”

    Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to assure your own clients in the same way?

    Kim Mays has been editing and writing about IT since 1999. She currently tackles the topics of small to midsize business technology and introducing new tools for IT. Follow Kim on Google+ at or Twitter @blumoonky.

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