The Importance of IT Maintenance is a topic only a few people discuss, especially when it is surrounded by various myths about security, maintenance, and budgets for the Small and Medium-Sized Business (SMB) market. Simple myths escalate into big problems if believed and left untreated. This blog is aimed at organizations with no or limited IT staff. It explores three popular myths that, if unchecked, will evolve into potentially business-threatening actions, loss of business opportunities, and costly future investments.
Myth #1: “We don’t need maintenance or support because we don’t have servers.”
Computers, solutions, and communications require periodic maintenance and support. Even the smallest organizations, with no on-premises hardware or technology, still need to maintain their local user equipment (end-point compute) with patching, updating, and optimizing. Additionally, you may be required to back up your data on your Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, hosted email (like Microsoft Office 365), SharePoint, Amazon AWS, and Google Workspace.
The topography of the modern office continues to shift to hybrid environments, place higher reliance on third-party solutions, and hyper escalations in cyber-crime. The shift is overwhelming for the SMB market and the most seasoned professionals. Pay attention to your IT and data assets, and seek support to maintain your environment through partners or service providers specializing in SMB clients.
The pitfalls of ignoring your IT and cybersecurity systems:
- Not having the correct IT assets to achieve your business objectives.
- Cybersecurity vulnerabilities and risks constantly evolve. You need a proactive cybersecurity program protecting your IT and data assets, even for the smallest organizations.
- The downtime risks significantly increase if you fail to patch and update your systems properly.
- Poor maintenance and ignored systems lead to inefficient operations, inadequate staff and customer experiences, and missed business opportunities.
- Compliance and regulatory requirements lurk underneath the top layer. Failure to manage your systems may result in costly legal issues or lost business opportunities. For example, if you accept credit cards, you must adhere to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), which requires an active cybersecurity program.
Benefits from using partners service providers to support your IT and cybersecurity environment:
- Service providers allow you to focus on what you know best, your organization, instead of wasting time managing your technology.
- Most service providers offer flexible services ranging from supporting your on-premises team to a fully managed service with no internal staff. Click here to see the different plans/tiers of approach that ISOutsource offers.
- Many service providers offer 24×7 support with specialists that know your systems. They don’t take holidays, vacations, or call in sick.
- Service providers know the market, industry, and latest developments; they can provide aggregated solutions customized to your needs.
- Service providers will maintain your physical assets, patch, update your systems (virtual and physical), and monitor your systems for potential vulnerabilities.
- Service providers can work with you to create effective strategies leveraging technology assets enabling business growth.
Myth #2: “We are too small to be a cyber-attack target.”
The SMB market is a significant target for cyber-criminals, making your business a prime target. You might not be the target of state sponsored cyber-terrorism or organized crime; however, automated cyber-criminals are targeting your systems 24×7.
Some eye-opening facts from fundera.com are alarming.
- 43% of cyber-attacks target small businesses.
- 60% of small businesses that are victims of a cyber-attack go out of business within six months.
- Cybercrime costs small and medium businesses more than $2.2 million a year.
- There was a 424% increase in new small business cyber breaches in 2022.
- Human error and system failure account for 52% of data security breaches.
- 63% of confirmed data breaches leverage a weak, default, or stolen password.
Why? Many SMB organizations do not have the sophistication to create effective governance and security programs. The limited resources and lack of employee training result in poor user and password management, failure to patch, lack of encryption, and inadequate backups. Coupled with a lack of cyber insurance, SMBs become prime targets. Service providers can manage your security program, creating a comprehensive, layered approach customized to your security requirements.
Myth #3: “We don’t need to invest in IT; our computers are good enough.”
The technology machine needs constant care and management; however, it does not need to be a black hole where investments are swallowed up without evidence of systems or security improvements. Organizations must invest in IT like other business investments.
Consider the following questions when investing in technology:
- Hardware – Can it be secured to today’s standards? Does it meet current business objectives? Do the features, functions, and speed achieve expectations, or is it becoming obsolete?
- Maintenance – Necessary IT costs, often in the form of systems upgrades, license fees, or monthly subscriptions.
- On-Premises Solutions – Should I consider a SaaS version and avoid on-premises hardware and the cost of managing systems?
- In-House Staff – Can I outsource commoditized work allowing our staff to work on value-added activities?
- Cybersecurity Program – Does our program align with our business requirements and risk profile?
- Contingency Planning – Are we prepared for a cyber incident? Are our backups recoverable? Is our Disaster Recovery plan effective? Read our blog on why you need a disaster recovery plan.
- Is Budget Balanced? Does it align with our business strategy? Are we using technology to drive business?
- Tech Debt – Have we become burdened by old technology getting in the way of business strategy and day-to-day business activities? Will investing in IT and cybersecurity be cost-prohibitive because we waited too long?
The Best Way to Overcome IT Myths
The most important step is to map business strategies and cybersecurity requirements to IT activities. Understand why you should do something and the impact if you do not. Find the correct staff and ensure your team or service provider understands the business requirements and risk profile. Have the IT and cybersecurity teams participate with leadership ensuring IT becomes a business activity. Continuously nurture the relationship and adapt. Connect with us today to start this discussion and maintain your IT.