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Here’s Why Small Business IT Consulting Is a Wise Prerequisite

3 Oct 2016 by Michael Lazar

Today’s disruptive technology isn’t just reserved for enterprise-level companies. Unlike in the past, when the latest and greatest innovations were only available to entities with big budgets, today’s advances are indeed scalable. What this means is the Small and Medium Business (SMB) sectors now have access to a wider and more enticing array of IT consulting and technology solutions. Along the way, it will make sense to explore your options with a small business IT consulting firm before you make any changes.

SMBs are increasing IT security spend

ZD Net report finds that tech spending across all business sectors is projected to exceed $2.7 trillion by 2020, growing a healthy 5% each year. In the middle of this fold of spenders are small- and midsize businesses. A SearchCIO report, which followed a study conducted by a firm that provides IT consulting for small businesses, found that the average midsize business spends about $13,100 per employee on IT.

Notwithstanding the hardware spending, software spending is large for SMBs, too, with Small Business Computing explaining that small businesses spent over $5.6 billion on IT security in 2015. As small business IT needs expand, so must the security spending that helps safeguard the investment.

"SMBs are more focused on security as a way to gain access to more capabilities, but less focused on security as a cost to be reduced once minimum standards are met," says Ray Boggs, vice president for small and medium business markets research at IDC.

Investing in IT is like investing in a car

The average IT investment is comparable to that of buying a brand-new car; you lose a portion of the value the moment you drive the car off the lot. There is a sweet spot for IT investments, however, especially for small-to medium-size business.

But there is a difference from the new car purchase, which loses a large portion of its perceived value the moment the transaction has concluded. IT investments do give a strong return on investment because they help power your business and empower your employees to succeed.

According to think tank, AMR Research, the average small- to medium-size business spends about 6.4% of annual revenue on IT related expenses. One of the biggest areas of IT spending within this arena is actually on maintenance. A Gartner whitepaper advises entities can spend up to $700 per month, per employee in IT costs, highlighting the fact that unmanaged PCs can cost as much as $5,000 per year to maintain.

But here’s the sweet spot: Management. The same Gartner white paper also finds that when you work with the right small business IT consulting firm, you can reduce PC management costs by as much as 42% per year.

The SMB IT investment roadmap in a nutshell

To effectively curb your IT expenses and make the most of your long-term investment in new technologies, these following pieces of advice are noteworthy.

  • Create a roadmap for IT spending that enables you to manage and control costs.
  • Maintain your current hardware and software by partnering with a reliable service provider.
  • Standardize equipment so it can be used by more than one employee; avoid dedicated nodes.
  • Create a reliable schedule for software updates, patches, security updates and backups, as well as maintenance.
  • Integrate a formidable security measure that spans across your entire network.
  • Create privileged access levels for end users, so you can safeguard your systems and information.
  • Routinely train upper management and employees in ways to reduce IT spending across the board.
  • Explore your options with “thin clients” and cloud-based nodes, so you can reduce spending and add an extra layer of security to your systems.

How a small business IT consultant can help

Most business owners and executives are specialists within certain fields. This does not mean they are experts when it comes to IT spending and maintenance. So it’s wise to consider looking to experienced IT consulting firms such as Insight when it’s time to update your software, hardware and security.

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