In trying to understand what makes an ideal IT system solution for small business might be, let us analyze at few things to begin.
The three primary reasons to protect employee generated work data in businesses of all sizes are:
- to restore data that was lost,
- to retrieve an earlier version if current version is corrupted, and
- to recover all important business data if the work place suffers a natural disaster.
The solution must perform the job automatically, consistently and do it without interfering with the way employees work.
Smaller businesses on the other hand have additional requirements. Small businesses usually don’t have a permanent IT professional in the company. Usually an on-call outside provider or an “involuntary” IT person (whose job in the company is something other than IT) is the available resource to take care of the company’s IT need.
In businesses where IT service is not consistently available, the data protection equipment must have additional qualities: easy to understand, install, configure, use and monitor, and must be able to do the job without heavy involvement of the available IT person. Ideal IT system solution and services must perform the tasks automatically and reliably and report to the responsible person that the equipment and services are doing the job as expected. If something has stopped due to any reasons, easy instructions must be available on how to remedy the problem.
Further, an ideal IT system solution for small office environments must not be large or noisy since usually there may not be a dedicated server room. IT equipment shall be small enough to fit into the small office environment and décor and quiet enough to not affect the employees. It shall not need special power or cooling.
The cost of acquisition and maintaining the equipment plays a big role. Services that require monthly fees can become a trap for small businesses. While the company is small and usage is low, the per-user monthly fee for cloud service will seem attractive. Many small companies sign up to use cloud-based services for that reason. But when the company grows beyond 20-25 employees, these monthly fees become significant. If these services have data volume overage fees, then as usage volume grows, those expenses become a burden. Some may start out with investing in equipment early on to avoid this situation, and others may first use cloud services until the company has grown to a certain size then decide to invest in equipment. There is another issue here that businesses need to consider.
For future growth and expansion of the system, it could be wasteful if one needs to “over provision” equipment due to design limitation. For example, if one must over purchase IT equipment that will meet the needs 2 years from now, then this could be viewed as money not well spent. Further, it will be hardship for small businesses if great expense is required to install, maintain or grow the system. So for small businesses, IT system or equipment that allows them to build up system functionality, capacity and power as the company grows, would be the most sensible path to take. It is also helpful if additional equipment does not require different vendor’s solution.
The following would be an ideal IT system solution for a small business:
- Purpose built turn-key system to solve a specific problem
- Provide features/functions that mimics enterprise equipment
- Adequate performance to do the job
- Competitively priced solution
- Small and quiet, energy efficient
- All in one hardware and software design
- Low acquisition cost
- No monthly fees
- Provide a clear “Pay as you grow” growth plan
- Can be used by “non-IT expert” to understand, use and grow