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TechsForBiz | Technologies for Business | Business IT Challenges and Solutions

CAT | consulting

I have worked for small businesses for most of my career, which is slowly creeping up on 30 years. Yikes. I’d better look out – I’m rapidly turning into an old tech guy!

Over the years, I have discovered that many small businesses suffer from the same IT issues. When a business first gets off the ground, technology is usually deployed only on a must-have basis. In other words, the focus is on building the business, aka surviving, and not on purchasing and deploying the right blend of technologies for the business. As the business grows, this practice tends to continue, and as with many bad habits, things don’t tend to change.

At some point, the business (hopefully!) gets large enough that it is highly dependent on technology. This seems to generally occur when the business hits about a half-dozen key (aka revenue generating) employees. The business typically has a real office (or least an appearance of one), and key technical needs include the ability to securely store (and share) documents and data, a website, secure remote access for employees, collaboration software (like email, instant messaging, shared calendar, and maybe even a shared Web portal), plus an infrastructure to support all of this.

The problem that tends to occur is that these types of businesses still aren’t big enough to afford a full-time “IT guy” to make educated decisions as to what type of technologies to purchase, how to put it all together so that it all works, and to keep everything running. Many businesses make the mistake of hiring someone to do the first two items (which many times involves purchasing a dedicated Microsoft Small Business Server, which provides many of the technologies mentioned above), plus a virtual private network (or VPN), which provides secure remote access, etc, etc. While this works well to begin with, as soon as the “IT guy” is no longer in the picture, things begin to break.

This is a serious problem. PCs and servers can become infected with malware (like viruses) or begin performing poorly. Network connections can break. Hardware can crash. If a solid backup plan is not in place, valuable business documents can be irretrievably lost. And the business principals often try to take all of this on themselves instead of running and growing their business.

Techs4Biz has become involved in a number of these scenarios over the past few months. The process generally involves scoping out what technologies the business has, meeting with the principals to determine what their objectives are, and then mapping out a plan to get them where they need to go. In some cases, we simply stabilize the environment and then provide on-going support. In other cases, we have aided companies remove most of their on-site technologies in favor of virtual services like Google Mail (Gmail) and Google Docs.

If you are in this situation, or know someone who is, please let them know what we’re available to help: www.techs4.biz . Thanks for reading!

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