If you own or run a business, your future growth is always on your mind. Technology can be your partner for success if you use it wisely. It can provide the competitive advantage you need to grow your company.
But how do you know which IT solutions to use? There are so many today and they’re always changing. Making the right choices can be overwhelming.
The first thing you should do is consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Managed Services Provider (TSP). They can help you develop an IT Strategy that focuses on your business goals and how to attain them through technology.
The right IT Strategic Plan will be forward-looking and innovative, yet firmly grounded in practical, cost-effective solutions that provide value. An IT Strategic Plan improves your efficiencies, productivity, security, compliance, mobility, and communications— It aligns your technology with your overall business plan, reflecting the rapidly changing technology environment along with your growing business needs.
Your Managed Services Provider can provide an IT Strategic Plan along with the tech management your business needs to grow.They’ll ensure that you:
- Effectively incorporate technology into your operational processes.
- Realize the best ROI from your IT investments.
- Use technology that’s aligned with your business goals.
- A Technology Budget Plan—To help you predict IT expenses, and plan for future ones.
- Quarterly IT Summaries—These reveal the condition of each component of your network, and if any should be replaced or updated.
- Organizational IT Design—To replace outmoded processes so you can overcome business challenges through updated, value-based technologies.
- Procurement Assistance—To ensure you get the best prices possible on hardware and software.
- A Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan (BDR)—To confirm your business can stay up and running no matter the IT disaster, manmade or natural.
- Security Monitoring—To remotely view your network, identify risks, halt cyberattacks, and address technology issues before they cause downtime, breaches or data loss.
- IT Project Management—To identify technology needs for specific projects, whether they are current ones, or in your plans for the future.
When mapping out your IT Strategic Plan for future growth your TSP will consider the following:
Optimization, Cost Reduction, and Budget Control
Optimization of your IT infrastructure analyzes and resolves inefficiencies in your existing IT assets and consolidates resources and operations to improve your efficiencies and reduce costs. It involves budgeting and cost-control measures for IT service, support, and equipment procurement to achieve your company’s goals while eliminating unnecessary expenses.
IT Security and Compliance
With the ever-increasing threats from cybercriminals, you need a plan that includes:
- Security for both your wired and wireless networks.
- Remote monitoring and maintenance to block intrusions.
- Risk assessments to detect vulnerabilities in your system.
- Data protection with encryption, backups, and recovery in the event of a manmade or natural disaster.
- Security Awareness Training for your employees.
- Compliance Services to ensure you meet industry or governmental regulatory requirements.
Virtualization—Servers, Desktop, Storage, Applications, Data Center
Virtualization in technology refers to the creation of virtual servers, desktops, storage devices, applications, and computer network resources. It allows you to virtualize your entire IT infrastructure or just specific aspects of it to simplify technology, promote efficiency and reduce costs.
Effective Use of Cloud Computing for Businesses
Properly hosted cloud solutions provide easy, scalable access to resources, applications, and services. Microsoft Office 365 is a good example. It provides scalability of resources as your business grows and can reduce the need for costly hardware and software. Plus, through secure file-sharing, authorized employees can collaborate more effectively on projects by sharing, accessing and editing files in real time. This capability increases productivity and promotes teamwork.
You and your staff need the ability to work from home or on the road. When implemented securely, a bring-your-own-device to work policy can enhance your business’s productivity and employee satisfaction. Your Plan will consider applications, support, ownership, security, communication issues, and mobile policies to ensure your mobile workforce is always productive, and your IT secure.
Secure Data and Voice Communications
Secure data communications refer to the electronic transmission of information for storage and processing, (via email and web services) while voice communications refer to systems such as mobile devices and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) that enhance your internal and external communications. You need both to succeed in today’s competitive technology-driven environment, and for your future growth.
When your IT Strategic Plan is in place, here’s how technology can help you grow your business.
Business Cloud Services
With the right cloud services, you can manage your business operations from anywhere, on any device and at any time. Cloud solutions provide the flexibility and scalability you need for the future growth of your business. You can expand your company’s capabilities without purchasing expensive hardware or worrying about running and maintaining it on-site. It provides for secure and reliable cloud backups which reduce the chances of losing important data and are mandatory for business continuity. And solutions like Microsoft Office 365 support your future growth. Office 365 is scalable as you can add or subtract the number of employees who will use it.
How does Microsoft Office 365 support your future growth? Because:
- It’s cloud-based. Doing all your computing in the cloud means that you always have access to your files as long as you’re connected to the Internet. All of Office 365’s tools will work on any PC/Mac, tablet, or smartphone. With O365, you can use the online versions of the productivity suite or install them on your device.
- It’s secure. Whether you’re using the version of O365 installed on your machine, or the cloud version, you’ll get the best level of security and encryption. The same set of Rights Management Services applies to both. None of your files can be accessed without the proper user credentials that are set up and monitored by Microsoft Azure. This provides the best security and control over your Office 365 data.
- Data is backed up. Microsoft’s Office 365 offers its own form of checks and balances, 24/7 support that’s always on-call, and OneDrive to store all your files. But it’s always a good idea to have an extra layer of protection by using a Managed Services Provider who can monitor your backups and add an extra layer of security if your data is compromised or lost.
- You can work anywhere. If you have an internet connection, you can use your data from anywhere and on any device. You can check emails, access files, and work on a project all from the same place – even if that place happens to be the other side of the world.
- It allows for seamless collaboration. How many times have you had multiple people working together on the same project only to have one version go missing. With Office 365 you can avoid this. Your authorized users can work on the same file and get changes in real time. You can also share files as links right from OneDrive, rather than as attachments.
- You’ll always have access to the latest versions of programs. Imagine having access to the most current versions of Word, Excel, and Outlook without having to pay extra or reinstall programs. All the most recent versions of everything in the Microsoft Office Suite are available with an Office 365 subscription.
- It provides great security features. How secure the Cloud is for you depends on what security measures you have in place. With Office 365, there are quite a few built-in security features to keep your data safe. These include:
- It encrypts your email. Only the intended recipient can read an email.
- It prevents data loss. O365 checks and ensures that sensitive data (like your social security number) doesn’t get sent out via email.
- Mobile device management. You can control Office 365 on your employees’ phones and protect company information.
- Advanced threat analytics. O365 learns and protects company data and alerts you of suspicious activity on the network.
Plus, Office 365 comes with 1TB of storage space in Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service, free web hosting along with the tools to use it, and a full 60 minutes of Skype each month for making landline calls.
With IT Strategic Planning from a knowledgeable and experienced Managed Services Provider, and great cloud-based solutions like Microsoft Office 365 your business will have the foundation it needs grow and prosper.