Hardware-as-a-Service Can Enable Membership Associations Use Latest Technology Without Paying A Fortune
Today’s technology is changing at a very rapid pace, and it can become very expensive for small business owners to keep up. Whether is a processor, memory, hard drives, Point-of-Sale systems, or even network and mobile devices, it is becoming tougher to keep up.
To compound the problem, vendors offer solutions with hefty price tags that make it difficult for the small business owner to afford. The end result is the tendency to “In-Source” I.T. responsibilities to a “technology-savvy” employee who quickly becomes frustrated, overworked and under-utilized.
The outcome of this scenario is the overwhelming number of small business environments with ill-maintained computer networks that are out of date in terms of security patches, backups, updates and a coherent licensing structure.
At the end of the day, the business is hurt in several ways:
- the network is bound to face some growing pains that will hurt the bottom line for the business owner:
- unexpected downtime,
- system crashes,
- email outages,
- problems with spyware and viruses,
- expensive upgrades and constant patches,
- waiting for I.T. support from the local guru who may not show up for a couple of days,
- crashed hard drives,
- incomplete backups,
- inadequate software installations,
- out-dated hardware etc.
These are all avoidable headaches, only if the owner was willing to exert a little effort in making a strategic investment in proactive maintenance.
Here’s how a small business can save a lot of money, and use the latest technology without paying a fortune:
Partner with a Hardware-as-a-Service provider
- The provider will offer all necessary hardware as part of the managed service offering and is responsible for the maintenance. All the business has to do is pay a small monthly fee.
- Keep all systems up to date on patches for operating systems, anti-virus software, spam blockers and other critical software in the business environment.
- It would do well to do some testing of security patches before deploying to the entire company. A flawed patch from Microsoft is not unheard of. Having a virtual machine for testing purposes is a big help in this regard.
- Find good software that can automate your backup schedule. Backups are very critical, but they can be tedious if you have to manually do them every day. A good backup systems means you are not putting your business at risk.
- Store copies of your backup files in an off-site location. It will not do you any good if the building goes up in flames or drowns in a flood with your critical data and backup disks.
More importantly, the Hardware-a-a-Service provider will monitor your network so they can alert you if something is out of place. It could be a failing piece of hardware, software behaving erratically, a computer or server that shut-down, a virus-infection on a workstation etc. But the cost of replacing the hardware is absorbed by the provider.
If you are really in a bind for cash or are just starting out, the Hardware-as-a-Service provider will provision the business with desktops and servers, VoIP phones, network gear etc. and all the business has to do is install business applications. All for a low and affordable monthly fee.