Cost-effective IT solutions for maximum efficiency
We know the volume and diversity of technology solutions available in the market today can be overwhelming, so we’ve compiled some recommendations on what our customers have leveraged for maximum impact and the best ROI.
Technology continues to revolutionise small business as it brings greater efficiency and versatility into the workplace. As digitisation continues, the biggest risk for companies that are slow or ill-advised adopters is missing out on the improvements to processes, productivity and enhanced customer service.
Small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) looking for a cost effective, yet all-inclusive communication and collaboration platform, are realising the powerful features in Microsoft’s latest release of Office 365. It’s a complete productivity ecosystem encompassing email, office desktop applications, cloud file-storage and sharing, web conferencing and more.
When evaluated on a productivity level, it offers a number of accessible and easy-to-use tools:
Microsoft teams – An online hub for teamwork that includes chat, video calling, files, and apps into one shared workspace.
- Meetings – Meet with teams of 10 or 10,000. Host audio, video and web conferencing with anyone you want
- Collaborate – Create projects, assign tasks, share files and update your team with instant chat.
- App Integration – bring more together with over 170 third-party apps supported natively.
SharePoint – A Cloud document management system supporting staff to organise and share resources in a secure online environment. The latest version of Sharepoint is much more user friendly and scalable for any-sized organisation.
OneDrive – The sheer volume of digital data collected by every business is straining on-premises infrastructure. When combined with the nature of how we now work – from anywhere, at anytime – Cloud is becoming the preferred platform for file storage. OneDrive is 100% Cloud, allowing staff to securely store, share, sync and update files from any device, anywhere.
Communication and collaboration tools
The digital world is evolving fast, and there is now a plethora of communication tools out there to improve workplace communication and collaboration – paid and free. From Google Drive to OneDrive, Zoom to Webex, with so much out there, the real challenge is finding the one that is right-fit for your business.
Add to this, there are many powerful, yet simple project management tools on the market. These solutions are designed to help businesses delegate tasks, turn conversations into actionable tasks and get detailed overviews of activity – even track time spent on tasks. Within Office 365, Microsoft has Teams and Planner for exactly this, and other popular options include Basecamp, Trello or Asana (to name a few). But as is the way in the world of IT, there are many new tools with added functionality continuously entering the market.
Protecting and securing critical business data
You have most likely heard the sustained hype about the volume, variety and severity of cyber-attacks occurring daily. Many small businesses mistakenly believe that because they’re small, hackers will not target them. This vulnerability is the precise reason they are increasingly becoming prime targets, which means SME’s must be just as vigilant as anyone else.
At its most basic, there are two critical issues to consider – protecting against malicious viruses and protecting data.
The first step is protecting your business from evolving malware by using anti-virus software. Norton, Veritas and Symantec are some of the bigger players and worth looking at. However, it’s important to remember that this should not be your only protective measure.
Securing your critical data is equally important. It’s a dangerous myth that hacks, and data breaches are solely caused by external threats. They are commonly caused by employees with 33% of breaches directly linked to human error in the October – December 2018 quarter*. Here, email filtering and encryption are vital in reducing the potential for loss of data. There are number of security features built into Office 365 that many are not aware of, but we might need to cover that in a separate post!
Also of value might be our blog on what the experts predict will be the biggest security issues facing SMEs in 2019 >>
The latest technology
Nothing stays the same forever. And in our increasingly digitised world, advances are being made all the time. It’s essential to keep existing applications and technologies up-to-date with periodic upgrades and patches. It’s also important to review your technologies regularly, to ensure they remain fit-for-purpose.
The right support
As small businesses continue to adopt digital solutions to enhance productivity and processes, and even for competitive advantage, their dependency on these technology’s increases. But many don’t have enough knowledge to confidently select, set up and maintain their systems and applications. In this case, we recommend engaging professionals who can ensure digital adoption brings suitability, stability and sustainability.
At The IT Department, we are committed to supporting SMEs with the information they need to understand their technology options, make informed decisions, prioritise their solutions and invest in digital solutions that will support your business growth.