Small-to-medium-sized businesses new and old will undoubtedly need to employ new IT tools capable of allowing users and management service providers alike to keep up with the ever-changing and increasingly data-driven technology trends.
Regardless of their level of existing enterprise IT systems in place, businesses can choose the right software, IoT technologies and other tools if they have a clear plan in place that takes all of their assets and goals into account along with input from all of those who will be involved or affected.
According to Tech Beacon, one important consideration to keep in mind is that effective IT products should be picked with clear goals in mind, whether they’re used as tools in everyday operations or as solutions to issues that could hamper the entire organization. Before the purchase of any new tools or solutions, AllBusiness.com advises that MSPs first weigh important considerations such as their levels of accessibility, collaboration and price versus added value to the SMB.
How MSPs can pick the best tools for SMBs IT system and administrators
Tools and solutions used effectively and safely by SMBs should only attempt to harness the capabilities of new technologies if they meet the previously established set of needs or parameters to avoid inefficiency. In other words: as new technologies become available, organizations MSPs should avoid adopting them (unless they are critical updates to close vulnerabilities) simply because they are the newest option, yet do not fit any specified need or pose as a solution to issues.
According to Service Tree, essential tools that MSPs who oversee SMBs IT systems should always use are those pertaining to cybersecurity and the protection of valuable data and other information – whether it’s to shut down hackers or prepare for major glitches and system downtime. To safeguard any IT system, administrators can conduct a cybersecurity assessment using practices such as vulnerability and penetration testing. Further protection over time can be ensured with the use of intrusion detection, appropriate VPN usage and automated service reports. Strong administrative controls with permissions are also a useful way to keep a system’s end users protected.
In the event that an SMBs IT system experiences downtime as a result of a power outage or system failure, MSPs in charge need to have recovery and backup measures in place so that any crucial information is not lost forever. To avoid system issues, instilling regular software updating and patching habits in users is one way to reduce endpoint vulnerabilities. As a means of allowing MSPs access to a system at any time or in any place, remote administration access is an important feature to include.
Choosing tools for a SMB’s employees, managers and finance department
When choosing IT tools (or solutions) upon which employees will rely each and every day to carry out their work, it is recommended that it first be determined exactly what they will be used for before any funds are spent to purchase products. As a result, AllBusiness suggests that employees be brought into the product procurement decision-making process directly. Individually, employees in different departments can be asked questions such as how much IT support they require and whether they have any older technologies that need to be upgraded or monitored to suit new technologies put in place.
For example, AllBusiness suggests that MSPs consider asking themselves questions such as how many employees they need to manage and where they will be working on a regular basis, among others. Those working remotely should be accommodated with the necessary tools and software (such as laptops or smartphones installed with video chat applications) to allow them to communicate with other employees quickly and efficiently. Like MSPs, remote employees also need a secure means of accessing an IT system for work purposes with appropriate levels of access and permissions.
Other tools MSPs consider for employees include those that can help improve productivity and safety, such as administrative controls for managers to record and track metrics related to the cost efficiency of employees’ work habits or the number of accidents within a set timeframe. Using that information, managers can draw conclusions and make informed decisions related to employees, such as the need to implement new training following an accident or failure to meet a sales quota.
If choosing any automation tools for employees to use, an MSP needs to determine what they will be used for and take care to ensure they do not emulate any unproductive or dangerous employee habits. Rather, the tools can be used to increase productivity or handle dangerous tasks safely.
Choosing tools for customers and finances
Employees and company workplace assets are not the only aspects SMBs need to consider when implementing IT tools, as their customers and bottom lines are what keep operations running each day. IT tools for customers can be as basic as point-of-sale devices at which they pay for products using non-cash methods or as complex as automated online customer service assistance. Automation can also be used in marketing and promotional operations.
While financial decisions should always involve human input, simple money management for SMBs can be facilitated with accounting software that provide spending summaries or alerts, for example. If it is determined to be cost effective with the resources available, businesses can even create online marketplaces to sell their products.