Do you feel your business lagging behind? Are you still struggling with legacy systems? It can be hard to pinpoint when it’s time for a technology upgrade, or if it’s even worth it.
There’s a widely known (yet endemically ignored) fact that old hardware and software are costly. If you’re still relying on antiquated technology—or homegrown software solutions that don’t quite fit anymore—you risk losing business to competitors with more adaptable platforms.
Here are some outdated IT practices that you shouldn’t take with you into the new year—and why they’re hurting businesses of all sizes.
1. Old, outdated servers
Imagine a restaurant where you wait several hours for your server to take your order, get your food, and hand out the bills. (Well, sometimes that does happen.)
In the office, unreliable servers aren’t just annoying—they’re dangerous. Your servers manage your employees’ access to the web, to their emails, and to files. They’re your lifeline.
Just like a tired waiter who’s been working too many hours for too little pay (and bad tips), computer server performance erodes over time. On average, it declines by 14% every year.
This aging process comes with more frequent failures, more repairs, and higher labour costs. Extending a service contract (which typically expire every three to five years) is actually more expensive than buying a new server.
2. Hosting data locally
Your local data storage needs more than just initial installation. These file servers need on-going maintenance and repairs, too. Your company uses significant resources to manage them.
You could be offloading these costs to a dedicated, off-site data centre. This way, you can lower rates, cut costs, and provide better service.
As your business scales, you also need servers that can scale with you. Off-site servers are easier to expand. With the right provider, you can get more space with just one phone call.
Finally, off-site data centres help your end-users (customers) access their information more safely and easily, wherever they are. The more they trust in you to provide fast and secure solutions, the longer they’ll stick around and bring you new business.
3. Excel spreadsheets
With spreadsheets, it can be difficult to analyze what information is important and what isn’t. Spreadsheets don’t show you real-time updates from other users, and there’s a risk of data being changed or deleted while in other people’s hands.
Using cloud-based software—like OneDrive and Sharepoint—lets you update your records instantly. Visualization tools like Business Intelligence (BI) highlight the important aspects of a data set or results.
There are also free and inexpensive data visualization tools out there. Or, if you’re ready for the best upgrade possible, CRM software opens up a whole new world of efficiency and automation.
4. Lack of a cybersecurity infrastructure
Data breaches and crypto-jacking target more Canadian businesses than you think. 40 percent of Canadian businesses experienced cyber-attacks in 2018.
The more we rely on digital technology to run our businesses, the greater chances of cyber vulnerability.
Generally, there are two approaches to protecting your business from cybersecurity threats:
- Improving the visibility of all endpoints in your network. The first step is getting an IT professional to monitor your devices for strange activity and potential intrusions.
- Increasing controls and protocol. It takes the right mix of procedure, skill, and technological resources to design a security-aware work environment. Your whole company should be equipped to identify threats—that means your devices and your people.
5. No disaster recovery plan
Like many business owners, the words ‘disaster recovery plan’ might make your gut twist.
Although backing up your company’s technological infrastructure with plans to minimize uncertainty, legal liabilities, and stress sounds like a rational course of action, you're not alone in feeling hesitant about making a DRP.
It begs the big question: is it really worth the cost?
Above all concerns, the potential to lose customers should be enough to kick off your plans for disaster recovery. Customer retention is expensive work but trying to drive lost ones back to your business is a different beast.
When a product fails to meet customer needs or goes into outage for an extended period, trust erodes quickly. If not a terribly expensive endeavour, getting those customers back is close to impossible.
If your IT is slowing you down—and you’re failing to deliver service to your customers with timeliness and quality—then your chances of retention are at risk.
But we’re not telling you to jump at every shiny, new tool. Just consider how old systems are stopping you from delivering the best service you possibly can. What’s more severe: the cost of upgrading some of your systems, or the cost of falling behind in your industry and losing business?
To get a proper cost-benefit analysis and start making productive changes, you should get an IT advisor’s help. Plan out the improvements you need in your IT infrastructure.
CBM provides a comprehensive, customizable suite of IT solutions. With managed IT services, IT support, and technology consulting, we can help you secure your data, remove IT roadblocks, ensure user satisfaction and improve your bottom-line. Find out more here.