Grundig IT Newsletter
Computing News That You Can Use – December 2021
The 5 Most Important IT Considerations as 2021 Comes to an End and 2022 Begins
NOTE: To browse ALL past Newsletter topics that we have covered over the years, go here.
Quote of the Month:
“You will either step forward into growth or you will step backward into safety.”— Abraham Maslow
As we roll into the last month of the year, it’s a good time to think about the future. All of us, as the end of another year approaches, can look at the new year with an eye on upgrades, changes and improvements. It’s also a very good time to examine the last year and see what has and has not worked for your business and what could be improved from an IT perspective. Hopefully, some of the following areas to look at will be considered for examination in your business and will be reviewed and examined by you and your IT provider.
NOTE: Usually, we examine a single topic, in-depth. This month, we will be mentioning several. Each of them warrants a larger discussion and we want to talk with you about the ones that will help you to move forward.
Looking first at hardware is natural: It is usually very obvious when computers are getting old and slow, or if your printers get frequently jammed or stop working.
Most businesses have two types of ‘computers’ they utilize: Workstations or laptops for employees – and servers to handle databases, applications, and data storage, although many servers have moved or are moving to the cloud. Servers usually have a good lifespan – Dell, and most other manufacturers, offer maintenance and support for their servers for up to 7 years. If your server is on its last year you will want to have a plan to move to a new machine or to the cloud. Most companies try to replace workstations on a 3 to 5-year cycle – this means you want to plan to upgrade the slowest and oldest 20% to 33% of your workstations each year, often considering laptops instead of desktops as the replacement.
Some problems with computer efficiency are software-based, not hardware. Most businesses run commercial applications (MS Office, Quickbooks and line-of-business applications) as part of their business, whether purchased outright or subscription-based. Most subscription-based applications regularly receive updates with security needs and bug-fixes, but even for subscriptions, you will want to make sure the latest upgrades have been downloaded and installed. For non-subscription software, you should take a good look at the lifecycle of the software – for example, Microsoft supports its office products for 10 years, so if your company is still running Office 2010 or 2013, you should look at upgrading to a more recent version, like Office 2019. Quickbooks Desktop users should consider moving to the online version, if possible. The desktop version of Quickbooks will eventually be phased out by Intuit and the online version offers easier integration with the multitude of online applications. It may be more expensive as a subscription, but will cost less for your or your IT provider to maintain.
Instead of just addressing problems you found over the last year, plan for the future. This is true whether your business is expanding, or you want to add another location or locations or are looking for applications to help you and your employees communicate and collaborate together. There are a variety of options and the options are always evolving. This would be a good subject to discuss with your IT provider: What types of software and processes have they observed with other, similar businesses that they support in the same industry or other industries? Ones that are working well and have led to improvements in those businesses? Consider those.
Businesses that are growing always run into new problems: logistical, operational, and otherwise. One of the biggest threats to small businesses is security, malware and hackers, etc. – a single ransomware attack could cripple a company for days or weeks, even if they feel prepared. Or even put them out of business if they are not. Nevertheless, even though cybersecurity is the big buzzword and should be addressed, proper backup is equally important – You want to have backups, possibly multiple backups (local and cloud) for all critical data and systems, and a way to get your business back up and running quickly if something should happen.
Backup comes into play when security is breached. Be prepared! Both local backup and cloud-based backup systems have their advantages, which we have discussed in-depth before. But more than just having a backup available, you need to be able to restore from that backup. Make sure to test restoration processes regularly. You will want to know it works, and you want to know how long the restoration will take. Your IT provider can help with this part.
Right now, some businesses have additional funds in their IT budget for 2021. They may make or start making investments prior to the end of 2021, before the next tax year comes around. Is there something that you could get started with right now?
It is likely that a number of the ideas we’ve presented here have already been pondered or are in the works. Wherever you are now, it is a process of continual improvement. And it is never too late to start – or to make small tweaks or larger adjustments.
Wherever you are, we’re here to help. Don’t hesitate to contact me now or at any time with questions or with suggestions on how we at Grundig IT can become better at helping you!
Onward and upward! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! We look forward to 2022 and we hope you do, too.