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Small Business Digest


Staying Ahead of the Game: A Guide to Sustaining Small Business Systems

Small businesses need to better sustain their systems not just to remain in business but to grow, innovate and remain competitive. 

Many organizations today are enlisting the cloud to bulletproof system reliability and to help manage their costs. 

Whether a company’s IT plans involve a shift to Cloud now or in the future, Satish Hemachandran of Cbeyond  offers a few tips to get you started on managing your systems:

1 - Conduct an Audit to Identify the Systems your Business Relies on

According to the Winter 2012 Cbeyond Business Leader Snapshot™ survey, 63% of business leaders say they have a business continuity plan, but more than half don’t back up data offsite.  Planning for unintended IT consequences is smart, and can save a great deal of money and resources. Here are some questions to consider as you create a Disaster Recovery plan:

  • How many servers and systems do you have?
  • What is the list of applications on each of these systems?
  • How do you back up your data and where is this data stored?
  • How critical are these servers and data to your business and what is the impact to your business in the event of a failure?
  • Do you have spare equipment available to replace faulty equipment?
  • How long would it take you to be back up and running given your current IT arrangements?

2 - Manage Costs by Aligning your IT Expenditure with your Business Needs

 90% of small business owners believe that the cloud has helped them decrease expenditures and streamline operations.  This is no surprise considering that most on-premises servers are underutilized and a shift to the Cloud allows you to start small and grow.

  • If you have already invested in systems, consider virtualization technologies to further leverage your existing IT capacity.
  • If your servers are due to be replaced, provide a better option for customers who are looking to start small and grow their footprint without the sticker-shock of a large upfront investment.
  • Finally if your existing or new applications simply need more resources, Cloud Services can help you augment the capacity you already have.

3 - Stabilize Core Systems with Ongoing Management and Maintenance

  • Ensure IT personnel are fully competent to administer all technologies used today or in the near future.  This includes activities like monitoring, performance and backup.
  • Investing in access control and security measures now will prevent significant damages should a breach occur.  Alternatively, identify Cloud Services that come with integrated security to support your compliance or regulatory needs.
  • Review and verify your vendor service level agreements to ensure your network, infrastructure and applications will run optimally.
  • Finally, also ensure that all systems are at the current patch level so these assets remain secure and operate efficiently.

Sustaining systems does not necessarily require significant overhaul; even the smallest of steps can help.  A thoughtful approach to where efficient technology use can help reduce expenses (both capital and human) will make your business more productive.

 Satish Hemachandran serves as Senior Director of Product Management at Cbeyond, where he manages the Cloud Services portfolio,

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