If there is one common thread running through most predictions for 2012 it’s that no-one really knows quite what to expect, except that it’s going to be another “tough” year.
The problem, says Andre Joubert, GM of MWEB Business, is that after successive “tough” years, many businesses have little in the way of reserves to cushion them against unexpected but significant expenses.
“In today’s fragile economy, what could be a minor crisis in other circumstances – such as a server crash and loss of data due to a glitch in the back-up system – could well turn out to be the proverbial straw that sends the business into terminal decline. With a little preparation, these crises can be avoided,” he adds.
“Businesses should do everything they can to ‘work smarter’, reduce overheads and save time. While long-established business practices might still do the job, an effective and affordable alternative could help to transform a surviving business into a flourishing one.”
MWEB Business has come up with 10 tips to help businesses better navigate the uncertain times that lie ahead:
1. Security breaches of your network can cause everything from minor irritations such as slowing down your data traffic, to potentially business-destroying disasters. Ensure your business is protected against hackers, crackers, malware, viruses and any other nasties that lurk on the Internet by implementing a security solution that won’t let you down.
2. Exploit the Cloud. There is a multitude of innovate, business-enhancing Cloud-based services such as Hosted Exchange, CRM and SharePoint, along with Virtual server hosting and Online backup services – find them and use them.
3. Ensure your business has sufficient Internet bandwidth to be able to exploit the Internet without incurring cost penalties for unexpectedly exceeding your cap. Uncapped and unshaped is the way to go.
4. When opting for uncapped Internet access for your business, choose the best possible quality of access to avoid being tied in to potentially slow connections (those that are heavily shaped and/or throttled) that will negatively impact your productivity.
5. Ensure your Internet Service Provider has sufficient redundancy built in to their infrastructure to ensure that their failures don’t become yours.
6. Skills development is going to become increasingly important as the battle for business survival intensifies. Educate and train yourself and your staff cost-effectively by making use of the many training courses available on the Internet.
7. Back up. Data loss happens: hard drives crash, motherboards short and human error results in critical data being erased. Thanks to Cloud Computing technology and the availability of affordable, uncapped broadband connectivity, automated off-site backup has become a viable option for businesses of all sizes.
8. Upgrade your server and utilise the fastest, most powerful machine possible – and ensure it is housed in a data centre that’s fully protected against power failures, fire, flood, theft or malicious physical or cyber threats.
9. Don’t compromise on server power and capacity. If you can’t justify the cost of a larger server that’s required for short periods or projects; or you can’t afford a back-up server, opt for a virtual hosted server – a server when you need it without the expense and the hassle of investing in your own hardware.
10. Avoid those “dead” hours of the day when you have to be away from your desk. Fixed mobile convergence (FMC) technologies allow you to do anything you would be able to do as easily as if you were sitting at your desk in your office regardless of your physical location.
“MWEB Business understands the needs of businesses in South Africa and works with customers to develop and implement the most appropriate and cost-effective IT solution for their specific needs,” Joubert concludes.