IT Planning – Why You’ve Got to Have an IT Plan
Only 3% of business owners surveyed budgeted for IT support, cybersecurity and planning.
For small businesses, IT infrastructure is at the heart of what they do. You might not believe it, but something as simply as running a computer on an insecure Wi-Fi network can have a detrimental impact on your businesses IT security protocols and business operations.
Do you run your accounts and payroll on standard software like Sage or Quickbooks? Do you have a website, use social media, email your customers and suppliers? How do you monitor your stock, keep track of sales, order new supplies? Are you using cloud-based APIs for documentation and reporting?
These questions may appear dull, however, it’s clear how much IT is an essential part of what makes your business tick.
So why, if you are like 97% of the respondents to our recent survey on small businesses’ attitudes to IT, do you not have a proper budget for it?
We discovered that 52% of respondents thought that secure IT infrastructure was an essential and continuous investment for their businesses.
A further 20% admitted that they weren’t interested in IT protocols personally, but knew that having the right IT systems in place mattered. Which is fair enough: small business owners do not have to take personal charge of absolutely everything, as long as they have assigned people and budget to make sure that everything works the way it is supposed to.
But of all the 200 business owners we surveyed, only 3% – that’s six companies ‒ budgeted for their IT spend. This is a catastrophic number, to be frank with you. Given that from 2020 onwards, cyber crime is expected to continue to rise beyond the 23% increase in the UK alone since the pandemic struck.
Remember, since the pandemic occurred, cyber crime has skyrocketed globally due to the shift to working from home and the subsequent lack of cyber security from businesses. People continue to work from home with insecure Wi-Fi, VPNs and hardware without the latest anti-virus software installed on their devices. A cyber criminals dream.
So why do you need to plan?
Why You Need to Implement IT Budget Planning into Your Business
As we know, It support budget planning is often overlooked when businesses have their annual budget planning meeting, however, planning sooner will prevent higher costs later down the line should anything unfortunate happen in the interim.
Preventing Cyber Security Attacks Is Better than Curing Cyber Crime
You need to allow for ongoing maintenance of your IT system, especially software updates to keep IT systems running smoothly.
You need to back-up your data regularly, keep anti-virus software up to date, keep all hardware and software up to date for that matter, and check that your hardware doesn’t get damaged or is close to failure.
Doing this is better, and cheaper than waiting for the whole system to crash and then paying out in a panic for someone to come in and restore it for you.
Additionally, implementing Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plans can be the difference between keeping and losing tens to hundreds of thousands of pounds spent recovering from disasters such as flooding, fires, cyber crime et.c
It’s also worth mentioning the efficiency and performance improvements regular upgrades offer which keeps costs down and doesn’t force big IT system upgrades that might be costly to the business.
Impulse Purchases for the Latest Gadgets Never Work Out Well.
If you suddenly find yourself with some spare cash, it can be tempting to splash out on the latest gadget, especially if it’s on special offer.
But the newest kit may not be compatible with your existing system – and if you’re a dedicated early-adopter you might well find that you’ve jumped the gun with a product that requires more specialist IT support than you bargained for.
Big IT Hardware Purchases Cost a Lot of Money
If you’ve got to make a big purchase, such as replacing your server, the chances are that you’ll want to spread the cost over a couple of financial years and make sure that you’ve got cash available at the right time.
You Have to Keep Up with Changes in Your Business
If you’re busy rearranging your workforce so that half of them can work from home, for example, you have to make sure that you have the IT systems in place to support them.
You might want to buy them all laptops, move to a cloud-based system, and sort out a new telephone system. These changes can’t be made overnight – you have to plan for them.
Furthermore, you might require more server space, or additional hardware for new recruits. This can create an imbalance in your network performance and slow down IT efficiency.
The impact is of course related to financial results due to slow productivity. Having a IT support plan and budget in place to monitor and optimise for this kind of activity is the different in results long-term for the business.
Planning an IT Support Budget
Planning itself does not have to be expensive. There is plenty of low-cost and even free advice out there – a good place to start might be your local IT support company, who can probably offer support packages to fit any size of company.
Additionally, if your overall budget does not have to be huge, but if it’s properly planned and spending ring-fenced, you can rest easy that, whatever else happens, your IT support will continue to be there to keep your business going.
Firstline IT is an IT support company located in Oxford, providing IT support and solutions throughout Oxfordshire and the UK. Contact us today to talk to one of our dedicated IT engineers about your business’ IT needs.