Our firm has helped companies achieve their business goals with technology for nearly three decades. Over this time, we’ve learned that there is absolutely no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to IT; every organization is unique, and your technology must be responsive to your specific needs, preferences, and culture.
There are, however, some basic best practices that businesses can use as a starting point. We’ve compiled seven quick tips below. How does your organization stack up?
IT best practices: 7 quick tips
- The more “standard” your environment, the better. Complexity in your technology environment – at both the hardware and software level – will make support more difficult, and possibly more expensive. It could also make your team less productive; if everyone has the same products, they’re able to learn from each other and use the tools more effectively.
- Keep your hardware and software up-to-date. Your servers and workstations need to stay patched, your firewall needs the latest firmware, and your software needs the latest bug fixes. If you fall behind on your updates, you’ll end up vulnerable to both performance and security issues. Mind your warranties and support subscriptions, too – letting them lapse will only increase your risk of prolonged downtime.
- Don’t ever think you are “secure.” Complacency is dangerous, especially when it comes to security. Cyber threats are constantly changing and evolving, so you need to assess your vulnerabilities on a regular, ongoing basis. This is especially important for organizations that are subject to compliance regulations, since the price you’ll pay for a violation can be quite high.
- Avoid single points of failure. This goes for your hardware and your people. Back up your data, and have redundancy in critical networking pieces like your firewall so that you can remain productive in the event of hardware failure. Try not to put all your eggs in one basket as far as your support goes, too; even if you trust your IT person completely, have them document their knowledge in detail so that you aren’t dead in the water if something were to happen to them.
- Focus on ROI. Before you make any changes to your technology, ask yourself what the business impact will be. Is it going to mitigate risk? Make your team more engaged and productive? Boost morale? Technology for technology’s sake has no value, so try to view your decisions through a business lens.
- Keep your culture in mind, too. When it comes to choosing your equipment and software packages, consider how they will uphold your company’s culture. Does your team have a flexible work environment, which you can support by providing laptops or tablets to your staff? Does your core communication tool need to support silly off-topic banter, or does it need to be more restrictive?
- If you don’t want to deal with it, outsource it. If there’s a portion of your IT support you don’t want your internal team to have to worry about, if you don’t want to deal with managing an internal IT team at all, or if you want to outsource your entire technology environment to another provider in the form of virtual desktops or otherwise, look into outsourcing.
Keep these basic principles in mind, and you’ll be in a good position to get the most value out of your technology systems.