Too often, people try to justify mistakes with the common phrase “hindsight is 20/20.” Listen: If you overcooked your dinner or were late to an appointment, then yes, hindsight is 20/20. But when you are investing $100,000 or more into your information technology (IT) setup, “hindsight is 20/20” is no longer a viable excuse. That’s where an IT consultant can help.
The IT consulting industry has grown exponentially over the last few years and is currently valued at $426 billion. When the stakes are high, the need to complete projects properly (the first time around) cannot be overstated. IT consulting is one facet of my company, so I’ve seen the benefit this relationship can bring to a business. If you do hire an IT consultant, here’s how to get the most out of the relationship.
Ask For A Network Assessment
This is arguably the most important task you can ask your IT consultant to complete. Allowing a professional to assess your network will let you know where your system is most vulnerable. Diagnosing inefficiencies is the first step to ensuring your network is running at optimal efficiency. To make the most of your assessment, be prepared with certain questions, such as:
• What is the current status of my infrastructure?
• What are my greatest concerns?
• Is my IT infrastructure properly backed up?
• What capabilities do I need to ensure long-term success?
Making sure your IT consultant is updated on your current setup will set the tone for the entire relationship.
Run Through Security
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to IT. There has been no shortage of highly-publicized data breaches in the past few years, but what small to midsize businesses fail to realize is that they are most susceptible. Forty-three percent of cyber attacks target small businesses, making the need to secure your network that much greater. Your IT consultant can help you identify your greatest threats and methods for protecting against them — anything from firewalls and antivirus protection to email security or another form of defense.
Ultimately, two components must be taken into consideration. You have to think about how valuable your data is, and how you can be proactive (not reactive) in the face of threats. Just because there hasn’t been a data breach doesn’t mean your network is properly secured.
Educate Your Employees
IT is a complex industry and it would be unreasonable to ask your entire workforce to understand the intricacies of your network. However, they should understand how to maintain their individual workstations and have some form of knowledge about possible security breaches. A consultant can do one of two things to educate your workforce. First, they can host a workshop or online seminar to give your employees the basic knowledge they need. Second, they can spend time educating one specific employee so that they are able to reiterate the concepts to their colleagues.
Save Time, Money And Stress
A fundamentally sound and secure IT setup can save you all three. Too often, I see companies seek short-term solutions and wind up spending more on several smaller projects to fix an ongoing problem. From my experience, the “break-fix” mentality always ends up being far more expensive than the alternative, which is addressing the issue at large from day one.
As I mentioned in the beginning, the stakes are high. An IT consultant will likely advise for long-term stability and help your company avoid overspending on the same ongoing issues.