IT budgets are never as large as you'd like them to be, and this can make it tricky to evaluate IT purchases. With so many options in what to invest in, prioritization can become difficult - particularly when so many choices feel like apples-to-oranges comparisons. Supporting those choices with hard data for why X will be better than Y can also be difficult due to this.
Every business will have different priorities, but we can share some insights we have from our own consulting and implementation work. Here are our own picks for the highest priorities when allocating your IT budget.
1 - Security
Whatever you're spending on security measures, you probably should be spending more. Security investments can sometimes be difficult to justify because, by definition, they won't bring any direct ROI. However, all one needs to do is look at the trillions of dollars lost to cybercrime to understand why improved security is a must-have for every business.
At the very least, we urge companies to schedule a live penetration test or other security evaluation, so you know how effective your current security measures are - or aren't. Also, consider upgrading to firewall or anti-malware/ransomware services which utilize cloud-based updates, such as those from Cisco or Sophos for much improved intrusion prevention rates. If you want to take it a step further, Cisco Umbrella and Email security are great additions to your security portfolio. 2-Factory authentication is getting more popular as well. Watch out for DUO - who Cisco just purchased, and for good reason.
2- Cloud Backup / Disaster Recovery Services
Disaster recovery should be another major area of emphasis. For starters, check to make sure your UPS and other backup power protection devices are functioning properly. They should be tested at least once a year. Then look into investing in online backup and\or disaster recovery services.
At a minimum, you should have a full cloud backup of all mission-critical data, in case of a data disaster. If money allows, also look into virtualization services, and the possibility of moving your core operations onto cloud-based systems if a disaster should ever befall your local physical hardware.
3 - Infrastructure Upgrades (if applicable)
How long has it been since you've upgraded your Internet bandwidth, cabling, and\or WiFi hardware? Speeds and reliability have both been increasing steadily in the past few years. More bandwidth can translate directly into improved productivity in numerous ways, ranging from online productivity solutions allowing for easier remote work, to upgrading to unified communications.
At a minimum, we recommend that anyone who is still running off of standard Cat 5e copper cabling should look into an upgrade to Cat 6 or Cat 6a for 10gig connectivity. Considering the latest WiFi 6 AP's can do up to 3Gbs throughput, having cabling that can only do 1G won't cut it. Simply put, you're going to need to do it sooner or later - you have far more capability to embrace high-speed networking and WiFi.
4 - Workforce Software Improvements
Finally, take a look at your own internal software. What can you do to improve productivity among the workforce? Cloud-based productivity software is a good choice here, if you have the infrastructure for it. Otherwise, another major trend in software upgrades is towards one-stop-shop platforms. You want integrated solutions that only require one single log-in to access, and which can share data across as many different departments and end-user applications as possible.
Call In Hummingbird For Custom-Crafted Upgrade Solutions
We have years of experience helping businesses of all sizes maximize the effectiveness of their IT budgets, with upgrade plans that meet your future needs without breaking the bank. Contact us today for a full consultation on achieving your networking goals!