Most business experts agree that Finance, Operations, H.R, and Sales are the key areas of every business’s operations that must be managed for a successful outcome. It is our opinion that Information Technology needs to be included in those planning and strategy conversations as well. The problem is that most business operators don’t have a skill set built up around technology, which makes it all a little overwhelming when they’re trying to incorporate technology into their planning process.
We’ve built our business around providing these solutions to our clients and have learned that as your business grows, so will your dependency on technology. So it’s critically important that you have a plan in place that supports your business goals, helps you to overcome business challenges, and that is aligned with all of the core areas of business operations.
Why is I.T. important for my business?
Most of the tools you use to run your business and service your clients will incorporate some form of technology system that needs to be managed. If your staff loses access because of an equipment failure, if there’s an incident like a hack or a virus, or if someone just makes a mistake and deletes a bunch of data, this can cause your business to be out of operation for hours. This is what we call a critical system. Every other functional area of your operations depends on access to your technology, so why is it an afterthought or viewed as an “expense” by so many business owners?
Aside from presenting risk in the case of an outage, a well-thought-out and implemented technology plan will actually help you grow, operate more efficiently, and motivate your staff. But to take advantage of these opportunities, the technology team needs to know what you’re trying to achieve so that they can build plans that support those goals.
What are the 4 Pillars of I.T?
The 4 pillars of I.T. success is a framework developed by Tier 3 I.T. Solutions that allows small and medium businesses to evaluate, design, and implement technology to achieve positive outcomes in their businesses. The team at Tier 3 I.T. Solutions has extensive experience in helping our clients to overcome business challenges and achieve their business goals through thoughtful technology implementations.
Technology has become an essential component of your ongoing business operations, and as a result, you need an I.T. team that is dedicated to developing a proactive approach to maintaining and stabilizing your key systems. This involves continuously monitoring the health of your critical network infrastructure and workstations, reviewing available updates and patches before deploying them, and working to minimize disruptions to your business as a result of these services.
Every vehicle has certain maintenance tasks that need to be done periodically to keep it running predictably. You might need to take it in for an oil change, a tire rotation, and a basic inspection every couple of months to get ahead of any potential problems. This takes time, but it’s much more manageable than having an unexpected breakdown that puts it out of commission for a much longer and more expensive repair. Technology is kind of the same, and there are updates, patches, standards, and best practices that are constantly changing and must be managed in a proactive manner if you expect to rely on those computer systems. That’s what we call stability, and Tier 3 I.T. Solutions has an entire team of people focused on improving the stability of our client’s networks.
Two things that are certain in the world of technology are change and risk. Every day there are new software systems, new integrations, new opportunities, and of course new risks. So many small and medium businesses are operating on the old “set it and forget it” approach to network and security management and in today’s rapidly evolving environment that is a recipe for disaster. The thing about improving your Cyber Security position is that there are technologies to implement, systems to update, and often overlooked are the people to be trained. There is no single solution to securing your systems and so we recommend implementing “Layers of security” that are complementary to each other, and that helps lower your overall cyber risk profile.
Adapting your security strategy to the changing needs of your business is critical as your company moves to the cloud and relies more and more on these technology-driven systems. Technology can help, but the human element must also be taken into consideration – providing testing, training, and generally working with your employees to help improve the cyber security posture of the organization.
Many cyber-attacks on your business begin by targeting your employees. There is an entire subset of cyber criminals who rely exclusively on Social Engineering, which is essentially collecting information and using it to trick your employees into giving up access or information. One of the ways they do this is by creating an email that’s very similar to a managers email. For example, your managers email could be Sherry.Williams@tier3it.ca, they create an email that is Sherry.Williams@tier3lt.ca. Did you spot the difference? In a fast-paced working environment, emails like these can be easily missed. They can then convince your employees to send them trade secrets or confidential information. Cyber Security is more than just subscriptions and tools, you want to ensure your staff are trained and aware of all potential attacks. The team at Tier 3 I.T. Solutions helps businesses design and implement a comprehensive Cyber Security solution to help lower the risk from these kinds of attacks.
Technology is becoming more complex, and your staff will have questions, run into problems, and just generally need someone who understands the pain and frustration they’re facing. Your I.T. team needs to recognize that reaching out to tech support usually starts from a negative place (computers aren’t working, and I can’t do my job). Tier 3 I.T. Solutions has built out a support team that practices empathy and works to solve those problems as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Computer problems and questions are very disruptive to your staff. We have learned that every hour we spend solving tech problems will actually cause 2 – 3 hours of interruption and frustration for your employees. A proactive I.T. provider like Tier 3 I.T. Solutions will work to reduce the number of tickets being generated each month by identifying recurring issues and reducing risk factors.
Every business depends on technology now, and so we believe that it is a key pillar to business success in the long term. Technology should support you in achieving your business goals and should help you overcome business challenges. Unfortunately, many organizations still view technology as an expense that is to be managed and minimized instead of an investment that provides a strategic advantage and a financial return on your business. By engaging in business-focused conversations, we aim to learn more about how we can help you achieve these outcomes.
Let’s say your server is going to be 5 years old this fall. The standard IT provider’s recommendation might be to replace it since it is going to be out of warranty. However, if your business plan is to expand into 5 new locations in the next two years, it might be better to consider a cloud solution instead. Even better, your IT partner should have a forward looking plan that encompasses the coming years, instead of months. The difference here is that your IT provider needs to know your business plans to make good strategic recommendations.
I.T Support Services in Edmonton
The bottom line is this: if you care about your business, you should care about technology. You should have a technology plan that encompasses the 4 Pillars of IT noted above and ensure it is aligned with the overall and departmental goals you have set. Keeping up to date with technology is no easy task, Tier 3 I.T. Solutions has assembled a team of professionals to do just that. If you have any questions about how you can get started feel free to reach out for a quick conversation.