f your business is experiencing growth, this piece could potentially provide you with valuable insights and guidance. In this piece, we give five best practices for ensuring that as your business grows, your IT environment remains secure, efficient, scalable and reliable. It’s a frequent occurrence that a business’s IT environment gets more complex and harder to manage as it continues to grow. By following these best practices, you can create a solid foundation for your business’s IT environment to support its growth and ensure its security and regulatory compliance.
1. Regular IT Audits
IT audits enable you to scan your IT environment and to map your territory, enabling you to detect issues, limitations, opportunities and vulnerabilities within it. These could be security vulnerabilities, bottlenecks that limit speeds, and opportunities to optimize your network’s performance and resource usage. A reactive strategy to your IT environment will prove to be more costly and time consuming, whereas a proactive one enables you to get on the front-foot and ensure that your highway to growth remains smooth and unobstructed.
An IT audit should cover all aspects of your IT environment, such as devices, applications, users, your network infrastructure and hardware, and cloud infrastructure. By making these a regular practice in your business (every year as a minimum, and perhaps every 6 months for medium and larger businesses), you can ensure that your IT environment empowers your continued growth and success, securely.
2. Create an IT Strategy
As they say, an organization without a plan, is planning to fail. Alongside auditing, planning helps to align your IT with your growth plans, ensuring that it supports them. An IT strategy can include a technology roadmap, which is a plan for rolling out new technologies in your business in a coordinated and systematic way. These technologies should not be limited solely to enhancing productivity and driving value creation in your business but should also encompass cybersecurity measures, such as data backup and recovery solutions.
An IT strategy also helps you to ensure that your IT environment is well maintained and predictable, both in terms of financial spending and its performance. It can also anticipate potential technological problems and roadblocks that may impede the growth of your business, enabling you to ensure that the road remains clear. Take care to ensure that your IT strategy is measurable and backed by KPIs, this will empower observability and accountability, and let you assess the impact of changes within your business’s IT environment.
3. Invest in Cybersecurity
For any growing business, cybersecurity will become an increasingly essential part of their IT operations. Although cyber-attacks do target businesses of any size, in part because many cyber criminals use accessible and scalable tools such as exploit kits, this risk and the impact it can have, will also grow with your business. By taking the steps to lay a cyber-secure foundation, you gain peace of mind, empower business continuity and ensure ongoing compliance with data protection regulations.
As a small business owner, you should be prepared to protect your organisation and the data of your customers from cyber threats. These cyber-attacks come in a wide variety of forms, including phishing, malware, spyware, ransomware, and more. Understandably, due to often limited resources and competing objectives, small business owners may feel that they lack the time to prioritize keeping up with the most recent technical developments and trends to protect their systems from cybercriminals.
Because we take cybersecurity very seriously, we’ve published several blogs that provide information and guidance on this topic.
4. Ensure Compliance
All businesses are subject to data protection regulations in some shape or form, especially in California with the CCPA. There are IT support specialists in San Francisco and the wider bay area such as Centarus, that can help you to align your IT and assure compliance with regulatory requirements. Depending on your sector, you may also have requirements relating to quality control and reporting as well.
As your business gets bigger, it will handle more sensitive data and increasingly fall under the scope of regulators, who will expect your business to be able to demonstrate compliance with their requirements. For example, under the CCPA, businesses are expected to record and keep data-related requests from consumers for at least 24 months, and provide notices to customers about how their data will be processed.
By systematizing and gaining observability over your compliance obligations, you can stay aligned with regulators and assure that your business is operating within them.
5. Documentation is Key
Documenting your IT environment and ensuring that your records are up to date, is a key element in getting the best from your IT, both in terms of troubleshooting more complex issues, and for navigating bigger changes that you’d like to make to it to support your growth plans. There are a range of other benefits to documenting your IT systems, processes and devices, including:
Knowledge preservation about your IT environment, and how it works in your business.
The ability to expedite troubleshooting processes dramatically, whether you have an internal IT support team, or an outsourced IT support team.
Documentation empowers you to demonstrate compliance with regulations.
Disaster recovery planning will require documentation of aspects of your environment, such as your servers, the applications they are running, and how they are configured.
And there you have it! By implementing these five best practices, you can ensure that your growing business remains secure, scalable, efficient and reliable, enabling your business to stay on the highway to growth and success. It’s important to remember that by making efforts and investments into these practices now, you can avoid steeper costs in time, resources and energy later on, as well as tap into the benefits sooner!
Providing Leading IT Support for Businesses in San Francisco and the Bay Area
Operating from the heart of the San Francisco Bay area, our multi-talented, 20-strong team has the skills and experience required for the most ambitious projects. Our strategy-driven IT support is guided by our extensive experience helping organisations in some of the most technically challenging and compliance-laden sectors, with a desire to allay operational challenges, address regulatory hurdles and overcome commercial constraints central to everything solution we implement. Get in touch today, and find out how proactive, strategic IT support from Centarus could transform your business.