Have you ever stopped to think of all the ways that Information Technology (IT) weaves through your business? You might think that IT is just your workstations, servers and printers but these days, office lighting and environmental controls could just as easily be part of your IT systems.
Now, think of how your business operations run. Could you serve your customers without IT?
Technology is a necessity in this digital age, and the efficiency of your IT systems can be what separates you from your competitors. In order to continually get the most out of IT you need to manage it correctly. If you’re like a lot of executives, it’s hard to know exactly what your business’ IT department should look like.
By learning about the different IT services that should be represented in a high functioning IT department, you can discover if you have any gaps in how you’re currently resourcing IT, and understand why IT is so vital to your business success.
IT is More Than Your Computers
IT consists of multiple disciplines that come together to create a thorough plan that ensures your business has a safe and efficient system of technology. This includes online operations, software applications, successful connectivity, and system safety in every department of your business.
Here is a breakdown of what you should know about the different roles that make up an IT department.
1. Cyber Security
Cyber security is a vital yet too often overlooked aspect of ensuring successful IT for businesses. 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses, which can be caused by malicious attacks or simply by human error. These attacks put your information and your clients’ information at risk for exploitation.
A layered cyber security approach is recommended in order to ensure your business’s cyber safety. You can start by undergoing a full cyber security audit to see where your vulnerabilities lie. Some of the tactics that IT are technical. These include email and web filtering, anti-malware, and network monitoring.
No cyber security plan would be complete without establishing policies and procedures for accessing data, and providing cyber security awareness training for employees
2. Backup and Disaster Recovery
We have all experienced the frustration of technology failing us, which is why IT departments stress the importance of backup and disaster recovery.
Whether it be a server crash or an accidental deleting of an important file, or perhaps even a crash of a hosted application in the cloud, things will be back to normal within a short amount of time if you have a comprehensive backup and recovery system in place.
Disaster recovery planning is just another preemptive step that aids your business in case of a technological crisis. Recovery addresses how you’re going to get back up and running after a downtime event. If things go wrong, as they sometimes do, the goal is to have your information backed up with the ability to recover it in order to help your business continue to operations as normal with a quick bounce back time.
3. Proactive Maintenance and Monitoring
Even with security and backup recovery, maintaining your network is a vital step to ensuring the safety and efficiency of your IT systems. This has become even more vital with the popularity of cloud computing. One of the great things about cloud applications is that they’re always up to date, so keep in mind that neglecting maintenance will affect your experience with cloud services as well as everything else that’s connected to your network.
Maintenance for your IT systems is like maintenance for an airplane. If you don’t maintain an airplane, there will be a day where it stops flying. And at that point – it’s too late and will be a safety hazard until expensive repairs are done to get it back into working shape. The same is true for your business technology. Proactive IT maintenance also saves money in the long run and helps avoid downtime.
The purpose of network monitoring is to track performance traits so that adjustments can be made when patterns signal a decrease in efficiency. Monitoring network traffic is critical to ensuring you have enough capacity to sustain high-level performance which allows your business to run smoothly and predictably.
4. Technology Planning and Advisory
Establishing a plan for your business's IT strategy is key to ensuring that you’re getting the most out of your IT services. Establishing a thorough strategy is also what can set your business apart from your competition.
There are many components to establishing an IT strategy, from budget planning to choosing a cloud provider. IT strategy should drive your business objectives such as planning business growth, expanding into new markets, or launching new products.
Everyone should have a technology adviser that will help their business map out where the business is going with technology so that you can make better decisions, reduce the cost of IT and provide a path to predictable results.
5. Technology Upgrades and Changes
Once an IT strategy specific to your organization has been mapped out, implementation begins. This starts with the work of a technology architect to design the changes that are necessary to reach company goals. This planning takes into consideration the growth of the business and how people will access the technology tools they need.
Are the systems you need available in the cloud or do you have to buy on-site equipment? There are many questions that need to be answered and thoroughly planned. Whatever you connect to your network will impact performance.
Sometimes you must upgrade components of the system just to be secure. Upgrades and updates are something that must be planned and architected to help keep you safe from threats.
6. 24/7 On-Demand Remote and Onsite Support
When one of your users has a problem, that user is not working. You need fast response and resolution to IT problems so your people can bounce back quickly when issues arise.
Ideally, your user should be able to pick up the phone and have the issue solved within a quarter of an hour. Some issues take longer, however, about 80% of IT issues can be solved within a very quick time period.
The other 20% may take some troubleshooting and require more time, but you should be able to expect quick response rates from your IT team no matter how big the issue is.
IT Department Services Through Managed IT Services
If you hope to grow your company, a successful IT department is necessary to promote and maintain growth. That’s why many companies now partner with managed service providers (MSPs) to get the reliable services that are needed for high functioning IT.
IT problems are stressful. Maybe it’s time to alleviate that stress by partnering with an MSP that can fill all the roles in your IT department and give you the experience and results you need.
Contact us at 800-481-4369 to schedule an IT assessment to discover how you can improve your business by improving how you manage IT.