What Are Your IT Support Pain Points?
SMEs can find themselves facing various IT issues in the normal course of business, but the Covid-19 pandemic may magnify these issues, to the extent that they become critical to survival.
According to a McKinsey report, more than half of UK SMEs regard the economy as weak and 80% report that their revenues are declining.
One thing businesses need to have in place if they are to weather the current economic storm is a robust infrastructure, which includes their IT support. Without good IT support, SMEs are more vulnerable to disruption, and less likely to be able to respond flexibly to challenging and changing conditions.
If you’re a manager or employer, what issues are you facing when it comes to IT?
Increased Cybersecurity Risks
Working from home has become the new normal for thousands of employees, but it can increase the cybersecurity risks their employers face.
Viruses, phishing attacks and scams are all, unfortunately, regular things many businesses must deal with.
But how much more acute will these cybersecurity threats be if targeted at people working remotely from their places of work?
How do employers ensure that they can maintain robust standards of cybersecurity when people may be using their own devices and where the boundaries between work and home device use are blurred?
The main cybersecurity risks from remote working include:
- Unsecured wifi networks – home networks should be secure, but there’s the risk of people working remotely using unsecured public wifi networks, which can lead to cybercriminals accessing confidential information
- Targeted scams – just as working from home has increased massively, so it’s likely that scams targeting these internet users specifically will also be on the rise
- Use of personal devices and networks – more people are likely to resort to using their own devices when working from home, and some of these devices may not have sufficient defences such as strong antivirus software, firewalls or data backup.
The rules for working have changed for many SMEs, but because of this, they should make sure their IT support will evolve in line with different working arrangements and practices.
If your current IT support is only geared up for your standard office working, you may be exposing yourself to unnecessary risk when you have your employees working from home.
It should extend to supporting your remote workers in the same way it would your office-based employees and systems, ensuring a firm level of compliance and security.
Cloud-based working and data storage systems should, in theory, be enabling much more flexible and dynamic approaches to working.
But taking advantage of these systems is only possible if you have the right kind of IT setup, where your network is robust, your structure clear and logical, and your storage and backup systematic.
The fact is that there are plenty of alternatives available for cloud-based data storage, apps and other vital business functions.
What your IT support should be offering you are solutions that will work specifically for you. You want more than an off-the-shelf solution. You may be working with systems that are out of date, or unable to change to meet your changing business needs.
In uncertain times, it’s important that you have a business continuity plan in place. It may also be the case that the extremes of uncertainty that Covid-19 has introduced mean that your current business continuity plan is insufficient.
IT support is an integral part of business continuity.
You need to be sure that you have the right protection for your data, that your backup systems are constantly up to date, and that you have a disaster recovery strategy to get things back up and running should something unforeseen happen.
Cost Effective IT
It is difficult to maintain a business-as-usual outlook, but it is important not to let things slide.
Are your software programmes up to date, and is your hardware running sufficiently well to support them?
Many SMEs can find themselves with outdated software and equipment, yet still be paying for outsourced IT that isn’t addressing these issues.
With margins narrowing for many businesses, now is the time to ensure you’re getting value for money from your IT support, with the maintenance to match.
Peace of Mind
Even in relatively normal circumstances, you can’t easily predict the future. A great many businesses in the UK will face the unknown. But there are things you can do that will give you certain assurances:
- You can ensure you protect your IT systems with antivirus software, and extend compliance to remote workers and devices
- You can have smooth-running IT, with helpdesk support and guaranteed fixes whenever you need them
- You can put a firm business continuity plan in place, with the IT expertise and help that will make sure it works
- You can have peace of mind that, whatever happens in the future, you’ve got ready access to dedicated IT professionals and qualified technicians, ready to step in when you need them.
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