We all know that disaster can strike at any time. There are work arounds we can put in place to try and keep business running smoothly when events take us by surprise. But surely it is better to have small business IT solutions, like Microsoft 365 Cloud Services and SharePoint, already in place?
So why are we not as prepared as we should be for a turn of events which at best will cost us time and money. At the worst, see our business teetering on the edge of the precipice, holding on by a weak thread or even closing the doors. After all those years of hard work and expense, ending up in a position you are unable to control is not only frustrating but can often be devastating.
In the past, the standard IT solutions small businesses opted for were either Microsoft Small Business server or maybe have a shared hard drive where business critical documents are stored and accessed. The initial purchase and installation price of this technology can be high, but the running costs, including electricity and IT support, can and would run in to the many £1000’s every year. Small Businesses may also use a service like “Dropbox” to share and access data or find themselves emailing files to staff to enable them to work outside of the office. This often leads to confusion and duplication, errors which at the minimum will waste precious time cleaning up the mess.
One thing we do understand is, between the inflexibility and the possible security concerns that these sometimes inadequate and disparate technologies present, it is not great on a day to day basis. Let alone during a disaster.
“The Cloud”, we have all had these words drummed into our heads as a consumer and commercially, but what is it? We have seen it go through several transformations. Starting as practically a free service, to encourage us to use it, when our Internet could not handle it. Then gradually, as we adopted its use via our phones or commercially with full hosted desktop type services, the cost appears to have gradually crept up. To a point where our perception is often that Cloud is expensive to adopt and out of reach of small businesses, who would benefit hugely from its use.
However, contrary to belief benefitting from “The Cloud” does not have to be expensive. In fact, many small businesses already have access to this digital technology but may not know it.
In the past couple of years, the way business software is purchased has changed. Microsoft, Adobe and other traditional software vendors have pushed monthly subscriptions to access their technology. This includes online Accounts packages such as Xero, Sage, Kashflow and QuickBooks. You may use customer relationship management solutions (CRM) from Salesforce, Hubspot or Zoho. It is now quite normal to purchase in this way, commonly known as SaaS or “Software as a Service”.
“The Cloud” is simply the relocation of your IT applications and Data which simplifies control, support and access.
You may already have some of your data outside of your physical premises. Perhaps your accounts system is already online. You may also have applications that you pay for on a monthly basis. But you may not be getting all the benefits that they offer if your solution is incomplete.
If you are not already paying for your Microsoft Office on a monthly subscription or, even better, if you are. There are many ways Microsoft 365 services can help to transform how your business functions and cope with disaster!
…available in several flavours and Microsoft 365 Business Standard is possibly a package you already have and use. You just use the office applications such as Word, Excel or Outlook. It may be that you use Microsoft Teams and Email services. You could be benefitting from the Microsoft OneDrive service and store some of your data in the Cloud already. But have you considered what other services the license provides?
Have you heard of Microsoft SharePoint services? SharePoint has been around for many years. In the past this service required some beefy servers to run it and a healthy IT budget. But very few small business owners are aware that they already own the rights to use it as part of their Microsoft/Office 365 subscription. SharePoint can effectively replace an on-premise data server by relocating your business data into Microsoft’s Cloud and it needn’t cost you any more than what you are paying now. In fact, it will probably cost you less.
Relocate your data to SharePoint and adopting Microsoft 365 services. You will gain an advantage by reducing your IT costs but also from “Access Anywhere” technology. Email, your company documents and collaboration services all in one place, accessible from your office, home or on the move.
We are not saying that Microsoft 365 Cloud Services are a silver bullet, the single saviour of your business. There are of course any number of issues which need your attention when disaster strikes that require your attention. Consider what technology is required during a disaster scenario or the day to day running of your business. You may find adopting Microsoft 365 will tick a lot of boxes. Allowing you to focus on the less mundane areas necessary to give your business that fighting chance.
To have an open conversation about your current IT systems, services and support, contact My CTO on 01621 850007. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact details, query and a best time to call. We will help you evaluate if a move to Microsoft 365 services will benefit your business with a free consultation.
My CTO Ltd are an independent IT Consultancy based in Essex. We have over 20 years’ experience providing small to medium businesses great advice and solutions.