Tech Budgeting 101 for Small Businesses

img Tech Budgeting 101 for Small Businesses
With the new year around the corner, now is an excellent time to review your organization’s budget to ensure your business has the resources it needs to continue to grow and prosper in the coming year.
It’s important to understand that in today’s highly digitized environment, technology shouldn’t be an afterthought. You need to have a clear and well-defined IT budget since an unanticipated technology issue in the middle of the year could cause trouble.
In this blog post, we’ll explore a few key things to keep in mind while budgeting for your IT needs.

Always assess your business needs

As technology advances at a breakneck pace, regular technology refreshes become increasingly essential for any company hoping to stay successful. Rather than simply assuming you’ll need the same IT budget as last year, take the time to assess your organization’s current needs, as well as how upgrading or moving to different platforms might help your company meet those needs.
Just like most technology-backed businesses, you should allocate your IT budget to improve these seven areas:
Hardware Replacement
Each workstation in your organization has a lifespan, typically 5 years. As a rule of thumb, schedule 1/5th of your workstations for replacement each year to avoid a wholesale change in any one given year. Your Server, backup device, UPS, switches, routers, access points, etc all have lifespans as well and should be configured into a replacement schedule. This replacement schedule will not always be the same considering the environment they are stored and the regular maintenance schedule applied. You could also consider cloud based applications.
Every business operates with some form of software. In your budget, you should be allocating for items like O365, anti-virus, Sage or other accounting software, CRM, POS, Inventory tracking, graphic design or proprietary software from your vendors. There really is no software that doesn’t require an upgrade for either functionality or compatibility so make sure you budget for it.
Routine IT services
Hackers are always on the lookout for vulnerabilities in your business network. You need to identify these weaknesses in your IT infrastructure so that your business network isn’t compromised. Make sure you continuously monitor your network with a vulnerability scanning solution to identify potential problems and develop the best preventive measures.
Businesses frequently neglect critical IT projects, such as securing their networks, leaving them vulnerable to attacks. Hackers can easily access your network if your employees use unsecured Wi-Fi. Risks associated with free Wi-Fi hotspots include network compromise, evil twin attacks and exploits. Setting up a secure VPN for your virtual workforce is the best way to avoid these events.
Keeping legacy systems may appear to be the easiest and most economically sound option, but it can actually decrease employee productivity and harm your bottom line. You’re also more susceptible to hacking if your security patches are outdated. As a result, annual technology refreshes are critical to ensuring the optimal performance of your IT infrastructure.
Accidents or incidents
You’ll need a plan in place to tackle an accident or incident, such as a cybercriminal demanding a ransom. Discovering that hackers have encrypted all your systems can be disastrous, not just financially but also in terms of your reputation. When planning your technology budget, focus on strengthening your cybersecurity posture so you can mitigate today’s sophisticated threats.
Training and R&D
Often overlooked is the training required to thrive with technology. The geeks in every organization will look at the annual launch of new technology at the CES launch in Las Vegas but the reality is technology is introduced pretty much everyday. Organizations that leverage the value of good R&D can maximize the efficiency gained from good implementation however the caution here is recognizing the compatibility of introducing new tech with what you already have. That’s often where SolutionsIT can give you our insight based on experience. The other part of training is security. At the very least, plan to have your staff phish tested to reduce email hacks.

An IT service provider might be what you need

SolutionsIT can play a vital role in guiding you through anything IT-related, including cybersecurity, backup, compliance, budgeting and more.
We can help with:
Internal support: Internal IT department or IT team
The most common type of support is through an internal IT department or IT team. Usually, businesses with a committed IT team are enterprises, while small businesses may have only one IT staff member or none at all.
External support: Outsourced IT service provider
SolutionsIT, can support your business in multiple ways, such as assessing your IT infrastructure to formulate a plan for budgeting decisions, providing advice on the best IT solutions, and assisting with implementation and setup.
Hybrid support: A combination of internal and external IT services
If you have an existing internal IT team but have areas they cannot cover, you can outsource those areas to an external specialist.
Outsourcing your IT needs or opting for hybrid support alongside your internal IT team can reduce a great deal of stress since our specialists can help lighten the load and show you the right way to prepare a budget. To get started, contact us today for a no-obligation consultation.
In addition, you can download our infographic “How to Budget for Your IT Needs,” which will walk you through the basics of IT budgeting.