Running a small business is no easy feat. Growth is often unpredictable and cash flow is not always available when you need it. As businesses grow out of their baby stage into stable small businesses, it’s common for a lot of cost-cutting short cuts to take place. While the short cuts seem to be reasonable, they can jeopardize your business. They might be putting your data at risk, draining resources, and slowing down productivity when you already have a limited staff.
Free cloud storage: Who doesn’t like free? It sounds like good business sense to have employees share documents with Drop Box, use iCloud to store work documents or leverage any of the other free storage available. Except, consumer cloud storage is not the same as business cloud. It does not offer the same level of security – if it is even secure. Plus, when you have employees using consumer-based cloud services, you have little-to-no control over the security of documents and other proprietary information. You are completely reliant on your employee taking the right steps to protect your data. What happens when your employee leaves? Lastly, these options are decentralized and makes for less productivity.
Cost-Efficient Alternative: Opt for a single, secure cloud with proper oversight and strong security.
Backup tapes – or no backup. If you don’t have any kind of secure backup, all of your data is at risk from something as simple as a hard-drive crash. A power surge. An angry employee with access to your data. A busted pipe. A Faulty sprinkler system. Without backup, there are too many variables and your data can be wiped out for good. Backup tapes aren’t much better; they are just as easily destroyed, damaged or stolen as any computer equipment.
Safer Alternative: A professional backup that stores in a secure cloud.These services guarantee your data is securely stored; something your tapes can’t do.
User mobile devices. Any devices accessing the network can pose risks and easily expose sensitive information. If your employees are using their own iPad to work, your proprietary is not within your control and could be at risk. Just like with the cloud, the data is scattered and is only as secure as that employee’s device. Fewer than 10 percent of companies know all of the devices connected to their networks too – and that can spell bad times for your network security. Employees are often unaware of the risks of using their devices. They can easily pick up malware that infects your network.
Secure, Cost-Friendly Alternative: A cloud-based phone system that allows users to securely leverage mobile devices, cutting back on handset costs.
Home office printer-copier-combo. Yes, the machine itself might seem cheaper, but this strategy is a case of penny-wise, pound-foolish. When it comes to printers or copiers, you should look at the total cost of ownership. With more than a few employees, these printers start to eat through your wallet in paper, ink and productivity. The ink alone will sink any savings you think you’re making. That doesn’t mean you need to buy a huge floor-standing copier either.
Ink-Saving Alternative: There are plenty of desktop printers that produce the printed materials you need for your business much more efficiently and affordably. Ask these questions to see what you need.
For small businesses, cost-saving measures make sense. When those measures put valuable information at risk, the results can sink your business. Look at the total cost of ownership for each of your solutions, and as a final cost-saving measure, look for a vendor who can help reduce the price of what you need by offering to bundle your products and services for a lower rate.