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IT Challenges

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IT and business have a symbiotic relationship. Through proactive planning, maintenance, and support of your IT infrastructure you can overcome IT challenges and ensure that your IT acts as a background enabler of business success.

For SMEs, it is often uneconomical to have permanent IT staff, but for non-IT specialists the array of hardware, software, and networking options can be overwhelming – and then there is the further consideration of how well each choice will integrate with the others.

In this article, we will address and explore 5 key IT challenges.

1) Office Setup

If you are moving office, or setting up a brand new office, there are two factors to balance. On one hand, you need the office to become usable by your staff as soon as possible so you are not paying for empty space. On the other hand, you need to ensure that everything is set up correctly, as it will be much more difficult to make changes to the IT setup once employees are actively working onsite.

Appropriate selection, procurement, installation, and integration of IT equipment will enable you to get back to business-as-usual as soon as possible.

2) Network Setup

Setting up your network is one of the biggest IT challenges. It entails providing each computer with access to the internet, and any local network resources your office requires (e.g. printers, scanners, and servers).

It is vital to ensure that your network is safe and secure. Cyberattacks are an all-too-common occurrence, yet many could be prevented by the following:

  • Firewalls to block malicious traffic from entering the local network
  • Antivirus and antispyware software to prevent malicious programs from installing on, and spreading between, company PCs
  • Appropriate encryption of sensitive data to ensure that even if a malicious user gained access to that data, they could not make sense of it
  • Employee security training for correct execution of robust IT security procedures

3) Employee workstation and devices

In modern offices, the vast majority of employees’ productive time is spent on a PC or Mac – therefore even small issues can have big consequences.

The following provisions could improve your employees’ performance:

  • Ergonomic desk, chair, and input devices to enable rapid, harm-free, operation
  • Multiple monitors so employees can focus better, and spend less time ‘alt-tabbing’
  • An open plan layout to permit face-to-face communication, telephones with hands-free headsets, real-time messaging, at-desk video conferencing etc.
  • Proactive maintenance and hardware replacement to ensure that all hardware and software is functioning at an adequate level
  • Rapid and effective IT support

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4) Backup

Performing regular, automated data backups is one of the most important things any organisation can do. It is no exaggeration to say that permanent data loss can destroy an SME. Best practice is to have both offsite and onsite backups.

Offsite backups replicate the data to a physically separate location, usually over a secure internet connection. If one of the data sources is destroyed by, for example, fire or flood, then there still remains a complete copy of the data to recover from.

Onsite backups replicate the data to a server on the same local network as the master data source. These provide a secondary backup in case the offsite backup is compromised, and would also permit faster recovery than the offsite backup if both were available.

5) Business continuity

Effective backup procedures, as detailed above, are the cornerstone of business continuity. It is theoretically possible to recover from any technical problem, no matter how severe, provided that a full backup of all crucial data is available. However, the time taken to recover is also critical, as downtime hinders staff productivity and alienates customers.

Business continuity starts with planning. An expert analysis of likely threats, along with their impact and mitigation steps, should be conducted, so that disaster recovery is a proactive, not reactive, process.

Failover is a technique whereby data and systems are replicated in real-time to secondary devices, so that operation can instantaneously shift to them if the primary systems fail. Business continuity analysis will have determined which elements of the IT setup cannot tolerate even short periods of downtime, and for which failover solutions should be designed and implemented.

Conclusion: overcoming IT challenges

IT should be a background enabler for your business, helping staff to work efficiently and effectively. IT problems should be rare occurrences, with pre-prepared contingency plans for the more likely scenarios, to minimise downtime and disruption. Efficient and effective IT support should also be in place for the rapid diagnosis and repair of unforeseen issues.

Achieving this goal requires expert planning, and proactive ongoing maintenance. It is often uneconomic for SMEs to retain permanent staff with the required expertise, so partnering with a firm of IT specialists for office and network setup, and ongoing support, can be the best option.

Every business is unique, so it is our pleasure to offer a free initial consultation to any prospective client who wishes to improve their IT systems. We will explore your specific circumstances and challenges, with a view to proposing the most appropriate solution.
There is no obligation, so please call us on 020 3793 0442 or select the ‘Contact Us’ button below to fill out our online enquiry form.

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