All businesses using computers rely on them to a greater or lesser extent. Would you and your staff be able to deal with customers, sales, process orders etc without them? If not how long could you cope with such an interruption?
- How well and for how long can your business operate if your computers go down?
A day, a week, a month?
- How much of your work can you afford to lose the records for?
How would you recover from that loss and what would that cost you?
- Is your IT operating in a secure environment
a. Can anyone break into your office and steal the computers with all your information on them?
b. Is access protected in any way?
- Do you have all the relevant licences to cover all of your users?
a. Do you maintain adequate records to keep on top of this
b. When you buy licences do you do this in the most economical way?
- Do you do regular backups of your data?
a. How often?
b. Can you perform a full backup during the time your business is closed- eg at night?
c. If so what do you back up to?
- Where do you keep the backup copies?
a. In the same room as the computers?
b. In the same building?
c. In a fire proof cabinet (but what about heat)?
d. Off site- but under whose control?
- When did you last successfully perform a restore?
a. Did it work properly?
b. Do you know how to do this?
- What would you have done had your offices been unusable due to fire or flood yesterday and without power?
a. Can your business operate from temporary premises or can staff work from home?
b. Do you have equipment to support this?
c. How would you access your data?
- If you employ an IT manager or if this duty is part of someone's job?
a. How do you cope when they are on holiday/ off sick?
b. If they had the required skills when you recruited them have they kept up to date?
c. Do they have the skills to provide the tools you need today or do they operate within their own comfort zone?
d. Are there occasions when they cannot cope?
e. Can they handle projects in addition to business as usual?
- Does your IT tool add value to your business?
a. Does it deliver the results you want from it?
b. Could it save you other costs by helping your business to be more efficient?
c. Does your business compete on level terms with its competition?
Clearly there is no one right answer, nor does one size fit all BUT...all of the consequence s of the wrong answer happen to Small and Medium sized Businesses every day of the week. Almost everyone takes out insurance against perceived risks in their business. Can you afford not to ensure that your IT is fit for purpose?
About Jeremy Webb
Jeremy worked for 34 years with Barclays, the last 20 as a Corporate Manager looking after (over time) some 950 customers of all different sizes and sectors. Success involved understanding the where, when, why and how of each business and bringing his financial and commercial expertise to leverage their business expertise for mutual benefit.