How do you prefer to acquire a new vehicle?
Your preference could help you understand your choices when it comes to your information technology infrastructure.
Are you the traditional type who likes to own your vehicle? You prefer to pay your car off in full and (eventually) enjoy not having a monthly note? Of course, as your vehicle ages, you’ll usually pay more for repair and maintenance. You could also outgrow your purchase.
For example, how many of you started with something small and sporty, had kids, and then realized you needed something with a bit more room and cargo capacity?
Hello, minivan (or SUV).
Or do you prefer to lease and acquire something new every few years? You always have a monthly note to pay, but the vehicle will always be under warranty and repair/maintenance is often included for routine checks.
What does this have to do with your IT infrastructure, especially your network infrastructure and backup and recovery?
SMBs generally fall into one of three different “personality” types when it comes to provisioning those two IT functions:
- I have the in-house staff available to do this myself.
- Who can I talk to so I don’t have to do anything myself?
- How will I do this myself even though I don’t have the expertise or time to do so? (OK, only the VERY honest will say this about themselves, but it does describe all too many companies!)
Again, this is a broad generalization, but businesses do tend fall into one of these three “personalities” over time, tending to DIY, outsource, or attempt to DIY but fudge things up out of a deadly combination of desire to handle it internally and lack of ability to actually do so.
Knowing what kind of customer you are -- and how you view IT -- can make a difference in the success or failure of your IT projects over time. And given that every business relies on efficient, secure IT infrastructure to operate; how you view IT directly contributes to how successful your business will be over time.
How Should You Source Your Network Infrastructure?
There are basic elements your business needs, beyond the computers and business software you rely on for your business, there’s:
- The network -- access to the Internet and associated firewall and other security mechanisms
- Security plan -- anti-virus (including ransomware) software
- Monitoring -- rigorous monitoring keeps you secure.
- Security strategy -- (often overlooked!)
When you choose to “buy the car”, you have to handle all of these issues yourself. Unlike a reliable vehicle, network and security software changes rapidly. Even if you do purchase, you’ll need to upgrade frequently.
After your warranty on your new car expires, you’re also on the hook for maintenance yourself -- your transmission goes out and that’s going to take a giant bite out of your budget.
The same applies to DIY network maintenance and security. If your in-house IT staff does something wrong and your data is breached, you’re solely responsible for the fallout. The fallout from a security breach is extensive, from identifying the source of the breach and blocking that security hole to informing your affected customers (and the associated damage to your reputation).
On the other hand, a managed IT partner will proactively monitor your network to head off breaches. Because no system is foolproof, service level agreements will ensure that your business is operational in a predetermined amount of time in the case of a security breach.
Much like if you hear some strange knocking sound in the engine of your leased vehicle and you simply bring it to your dealer; your managed IT partner takes care of network maintenance and repair.
I hope this slightly different explanation of how you provision your network, data backup, and security functions for your business helps you identify what your best options are.
While we can’t promise a “new car smell” every few years like a car lease offers, the safety and security of knowing your business is protected and your in-house staff can focus on other business IT challenges is even better.