The Six Most Overlooked Ways Small Business Owners
Can Lower IT Costs
by Corporate Computer Services
Technology is changing at a rapid pace. Everyday
it seems the latest and greatest is replaced with
the next best thing. Most small business owners
are apprehensive about making technology purchases,
fearful their equipment will be deemed outdated
within a few months.
keeping up with technology does require a financial
investment, the cost of being behind is far greater.
But it's not an "all or nothing" proposition.
You can be technologically relevant and wise with
your company's finances at the same time. There
are also some ways to keep costs down that are
often overlooked; here are six of them:
Invest money up-front on adequate equipment that
than purchasing a new PC "white box" or "clone,"
consider investing a little extra on a brand name
PC that comes with a warranty and service agreement.
Also look to the future and invest in technology
hardware and software that will grow with you.
An example of this may be getting a PC with a
faster processor. You may not need it right now,
but you'll be thankful in a year or so when you
Consolidate internet and telephone service into
a bundled package.
called "convergence," this is a great way to save
money on a monthly basis by paying a flat rate.
You will also save time paying bills because you
will be billed on one simple invoice. There are
several companies that offer bundled packages.
XO Communications is one which offers two programs
for convergence: XOptions and XO Integrated Access.
These include local and long distance telecommunications
along with high-speed internet and web hosting.
Go to www.xo.com to learn more about their integrated
3. Centrally manage and monitor anti-virus
software, backups, critical updates, and business
documents and files.
you have your own IT staff or outsource to an
IT support provider, you will save a lot of time
and money by managing these items in a central
location. Imagine the time it takes to update
anti-virus software, operating system patches
and updates on every workstation or to backup
every workstation individually on a daily basis.
A central location for storing all of your office
documents also eliminates the risk of data loss
from human error and the confusion of which document
is the most updated.
it may cost more up-front to purchase software
and hardware that can be managed from a central
server, you will save a lot of money down the
road. In addition, your employees can spend time
being more productive instead of conducting backups
and updates for their individual workstations
or creating workarounds because of inadequate
Implement an "Acceptable Use" policy for employees.
Millions of productive work hours are lost every
year in companies across the nation because of
employee access to the Internet. SurfControl,
a company that produces highly sophisticated content
filters to stop unwanted email and web content,
estimates that just 30 minutes of recreational
surfing a day and 30 minutes of personal email
activity can cost a company with 20 employees
over $1,250 per week (at $25/hour/employee).
only does surfing the web take time away from
work, it also increases the likelihood of company-wide
exposure to harmful viruses. It is important to
introduce "acceptable use" policies for the technology
and equipment your employees have been entrusted
to use. If you continue to see problems resulting
from improper use of technology, you may want
to consider investing in software that filters
web and email content.
5. Change your technology approach from "break-fix"
to regular maintenance.
is far more cost effective to prevent problems
than to fix them. You've probably experienced
this with your car. If you change the oil on a
regular basis, you have a higher likelihood of
avoiding costly repairs. The same applies to the
technology in your office. In addition to costs
saved by prevention (and having more predictable
IT expenditures), you will also save money when
things do "break" (because they will) by having
someone who is familiar with your network and
configuration. The difference is money in your
pocket between an IT professional who is unfamiliar
with your network, versus one who already knows
Have a plan.
how you want to use technology to accomplish goals
for your business. Do you want to eventually automate
systems that employees are currently handling?
Do you plan for company expansion to include offices
in other parts of the country? Will you want the
employees at those offices connected to the same
network? Would shared contacts and calendars help
having a plan and knowing what you want to accomplish,
you are less likely to spend money on non-essentials.
It's the difference between going to the grocery
store with a list or without one. Stick to your
list. Be flexible if changes are legitimate and
warranted, but at least know what's on your list.
By having a plan, you can also budget for IT and
you may have fewer big expenditures as a result.
This will help with cash flow, which is of utmost
importance to small and mid-sized companies. Choosing
an IT support provider who provides these kinds
of planning services is also a good indicator
of how they will approach supporting your office
i.e. proactively vs. reactively.
every company and situation is different. You
may be able to save money in other ways based
upon your specific technology needs or network
configuration. However, if you don't have someone
who is responsible for and knowledgeable about
your systems, you could be missing out on a bundle
of savings. Whether you outsource to an IT support
provider, or have your own IT staff, empower this
person with the task of finding ways for the company
to save money while keeping focused on your company's
Services, Inc. is a professional outsourced computer
services company serving small businesses in Orange
County, California. Their specialties are network
planning (network consulting), network projects,
and ongoing network/computer maintenance. They
pride themselves on not only delivering the results
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