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A 5-step checklist to knowing your SMB’s technology better, Pt. 1

As a technology provider, we’ve worked with many SMBs over the years, and if there’s one common theme that ties all of these businesses together, it would be “hard work.”

People who work for a smaller company are required to wear multiple hats.

A CEO is never just a CEO. That person might also be the COO, the accountant, and a part-time receptionist. These people work hard because they have to. They don’t have people above or below them that can pick up any slack.

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Because of this, we’ve found that it’s incredibly important for SMBs to find some way to reasonably control their technology infrastructures.

The better your company’s technology operates, the fewer everyday hassles your team will encounter. And when there are fewer hassles, your team members won’t have to put up with as much downtime, complications, or a need to re-work, redo, or re-try anything.  

So to help get your company headed in the right direction with its technology, we’ve compiled a quick checklist of the items you should most pay attention to within your infrastructure and the important details you need to know about each of them.  

Software IconSoftware Vendors

Do you know who your vendors are, how to contact them, and what your support parameters are? The more in-tune you are with your chosen software vendors, the more likely it is that you can handle future problems with ease.

On top of this, do you have someone dedicated to managing relationships with your vendors?

One point of contact is always better than many.

Server IconServers

Do you know the basics of your servers? In other words, do you know why you need a server, what it does, and how it operates?

If you know these types of details, then it’s much easier to avoid server failures and to understand when you need more of something (for example: more storage, more memory, more power, or a faster internet connection).  

PC Monitor IconPC and Laptops

How are all of your connected laptops and PCs running? Is there a maintenance schedule for them, and if so, who’s in charge of updating and maintaining those devices? This is critical information because the better your devices operate, the better your employees can operate.

It’s also important to know where these devices are and what’s being accessed by them. This doesn’t mean you need to monitor employee behavior, but it does mean you need to find a way to limit unauthorized access and data loss (especially for those laptops).

This might involve a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution, detailed policies, and a layered security solution.

Support IconTechnical Support Documentation

How do you resolve IT issues? Or better yet, who do you turn to? Do you have a designated provider or are you Googling a solution everytime a problem presents itself?

When you have detailed instructions or guidelines on how to find, access, and manage IT support, then you can avoid excessive downtime and internal confusion.

Backup IconData Backup

What type of backup solution do you have (if any) and how often (if at all) do you check to make sure that this backup solution is, in fact, backing up your data? This is crucial to remember. Many companies put their faith in a backup solution, experience a data disaster of some sort, and ultimately discover that their backup solution stopped working months ago.

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It’s great that you have a backup solution in place, but it’s never okay to blindly accept that your data is backed up. Make sure you have processes (or support) in place that routinely confirms the status of your backup devices.

You also need to establish some type of data priority system. In other words, you need to determine what data is the most important and what data must be backed up at all times. This is the data that can’t be recreated, would take a very long time to recreate, or is important to the overall sustenance of your business (like customer data, project information, or product specifications).

When it comes to your technology, this is just the very beginning, of the very beginning. Take a look at our latest post that analyzes a few other components of your infrastructure. This particular post discusses your internet connection, email system, wireless network devices, and other vital components that keep your business running.