Here we are, at the beginning of 2011.
Have you thought out goals or resolutions for the year? What will you do differently?
As a small business owner and entrepreneur the questions might be: What have you learned from 2010? Is there a new direction for 2011? What part of your business needs attention in 2011? What is your market going to do in 2011?
Here’s my thoughts from the IT perspective.
1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Many small businesses are still suffering from the economic impact last year, and in Vancouver here I’ve notice place are still closing down. I hope that you’re not at that stage, but if you’re too close for comfort then you need to think about using your technology effectively.
Are you paying for software you don’t need, or paying for 20 copies when you really only need 10? Are your software and hardware pieces allocated in the right spots? Are you centralizing software management efficiently? Does the accountant really need Photoshop? Does the receptionist or assistant have ALL the technology he/she needs to do her job effectively? Do you have hardware or software sitting unused that could be utilized? Could that older box be rebuilt as a backup location or remote desktop? Are you offering remote capabilities so that staff can handle things remotely if they are sick or away?
These are the kind of questions that bear thinking about and often all it takes is a discussion matching technology needs to business needs.
2. Safe, Secure
LifeHacker has an article outlining three core focuses: Safe, Clean, and Backed up, and as we start a new year it’s always good to reassess your systems and security and think about your personal wikileaks potential.
For backups have a look at our article on Microsoft Synctoy which is free and would work for a small office home office environment.
For Antivirus systems take a look at AVG, or, if you have 5 or more computers you may want to consider
Symantec Endpoint Protection as a centralized solution.
3. Online, the Cloud
There’s a lot of discussion lately about “the cloud”, which really just means using online services rather than building the infrastructure locally.
Have you thought about how you could reduce office maintenance costs by pushing some processes out to “the cloud”? Have you looked at Dropbox, Google Apps, or Office365 rather than a local physical server?
For instance, Online Backup: We use a local Cloud Backup Services provider to backup customer files to a remote location – but one that is still available physically, that is, in a full-out disaster we could drive to the building and get our data right from the online servers in Burnaby. It’s the best of both worlds (contact us if you’re interested). Backup to a remote site without having to take tapes or disks home, but real access if you absolutely need it.
There’s always going to be change and this time of year is when we all tend to step back and review the 10,000 or 50,000 foot view of business and processes. If you are not technically inclined then you should spend maybe an hour with your technology provider and review your systems. (on a self-serving note: if you’d like to talk with us we’re certainly happy to do so)
Happy New Year everyone and we hope for you an improved, effective, and prosperous 2011 year!