If you are looking for a reason to justify whether you should outsource your small business IT support / management or not, just check out what’s going on in small business IT sphere: Small Business Trends has published a recap on some of the most interesting tweets from their Twitter chat hashtag #SMBchat, featuring two IT security experts from Symantec.
Disturbing stats on small business IT security
From the tweets mentioned, I found several facts that are both interesting and disturbing: It was revealed that 36 percent of all cyber attacks target small businesses, but only 50 percent of SMBs realize that they are a target for cyber attackers; 73 percent have reported that they are victims of cyber attacks.
Perhaps some small business owners think that their IT security is not that important: Check this out – 61 percent SMBs don’t have a written plan on how to handle cyber attacks.
Those are some worrying stats – small business owners need to consider their IT security more seriously, as the impact of cyber attacks are prevalent: Loss or profits, and eventually loss of business.
What to do with cyber attacks?
Indeed, recovering from cyber attacks are very costly – not mentioning losing business while you are in recovery mode. The typical health advice holds true for small business IT: Prevention is the best medicine.
You need to have an IT service management plan. You need a disaster recovery plan. You need to also have a plan to secure your IT system well. What’s more important, you need to really do what’s required in ensuring your business continuity: You need to backup your system; you need to update your software, as old software versions have always been loopholes for hacks, malware and so on; you need to monitor your IT system to thwart threats as they are on sight.
Now, the problem with most small businesses is: IT budget; do you have the budget to ensure the entire thing? Do you have the resources to manage all of those? Can you hire the best talent in IT to manage your IT system?
Can cloud computing help?
You might have heard about cloud computing; indeed, the cloud can offer you a solution, particularly in leveraging resources and expertise in such a way that you don’t need to invest in IT infrastructure – and IT talents – to get things done.
However, the cloud is not the ultimate solutions; it has its own inherited problems yet to be solved (remember when you can’t access Google Chat, Microsoft’s Azure and Twitter? How about Amazon AWS’ outages? They are prevalent risks businesses must face when adopting the cloud.
Perhaps the best way – recommended by experts – is by adopting a hybrid cloud deployment model: Incorporating your small business’ existing IT infrastructure and turn it into a private cloud, while having the public cloud as a backup (this strategy is adopted by Zynga, social media games company)
How to manage all that?
The most important decision you should make as a small business owner or an IT decision maker, regardless of whether you are adopting the cloud or not, is how to ensure everything runs as intended.
I mentioned above that hiring IT talents might prove to be a good move, but budget-wise, it’s probably not a good decision for your small business.
Moreover, the problem with managing the IT systems in-house is experience. Are your IT staffs experienced enough in monitoring and troubleshooting the systems? If they couldn’t do it, what should you do? “Just let it slide” is not a good decision; you KNOW the direct impact of cyber attacks. Covering your eyes and ears – or hiding your head in the sand – is obviously not a good decision!
I personally a big fan of outsourcing- in every sense. With regard to small business IT, I would recommend you to consider outsourcing your IT management. Whenever possible, you should also consider managed IT services allowing you to take the hassle out of your IT systems management and maintenance – including system monitoring, planning and more.
So, what about you? Are you hiring IT staffs or outsource your IT management? Please share your opinions by leaving a comment below.
Small business IT management