Collaboration Is a Big Deal for Businesses

“Un pour tous, tous pour un,” was made famous by Alexandré Dumas’ The Three Musketeers. The collaboration of the Musketeers: Athos, Aramis, Porthos with the brave and clever D’Artagnan makes for great fiction, but for the average business, the act of working together for a single goal possible is less heroic, but still mandatory. Let’s take a look at modern collaboration.

How does Collaboration Work Inside the Modern Business?

For today’s business, collaboration is typically promoted through the use of technology, specifically communication tools. Through tools like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Email, and instant messaging, collaboration has become easier. This collaboration comes in a few different methods. They include:

 

  • Simple Collaboration – The most basic form of collaboration. This comes in the form of basic communications. Team cooperation can only be manifested if team members are on the same page.
    Document Collaboration – Document collaboration used to be sent via manila envelopes, but today most document collaboration is being done via cloud-based services like Microsoft Office 365 and G Suite.
  • Structured Collaboration – Structured collaboration is the act of coordinating tasks that need to be completed by a team. The more tasks that need to be accomplished, the more collaboration is needed to ensure that the project is completed and ready for delivery before any hard deadline.

 

Why is Collaboration So Important?

If more people work together to create a product or service, it stands to reason that it will be more effective for its intended purpose. Using today’s most powerful collaboration tools, an organization can get work done faster, and of higher quality. Some of the best collaboration tools include:

 

  • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
  • Conferencing solutions
  • Email
  • Cloud productivity suites
  • Instant Messaging
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Document management platforms
  • Collaboration apps

 

…And more

 

If you are looking for help maximizing your human resources by getting the best collaborative tools on the market call VentureNet today at 214-343-3550.

How a Mobile Device Policy Can Benefit Your Business

With mobile devices being as popular as they are, so ingrained into modern culture, the fact of the matter is that your employees are going to have them in the workplace. They may even want to use them in a work capacity. This can provide a few benefits to a business, as long as it is managed properly. A carefully-crafted mobile device policy can help accomplish this.

Here, we’ll go into what your mobile device policy needs to cover, if you are considering integrating one or revisiting the one you currently have.

Security Standards

Due to its extreme importance to your business and its success, security seems to be an appropriate place to start. There are many guidelines that you should enforce among your staff in exchange for the ability to use their own device to not only protect your operations, but also to help prevent these devices from threatening your organizational productivity. For instance, it is probably a good idea to include the following:

 

  • All devices must be password-protected in accordance with your company’s password policies and guidelines and set to lock if left idle for a given amount of time.
  • Employees are unable to install any applications that are not approved by the company.
  • Any devices not included in the acceptable list, or that are not a part of a BYOD policy (i.e., are exclusively for personal use) may not connect to the network.
  • Any device may be wiped if it is misplaced, if the owner leaves the company, or a potential threat is detected by IT.

 

Of course, this is not a comprehensive list (as none of our examples will be), but it is a good starting point to help you establish your mobile-based policies.

Liabilities, Risks, and Disclaimers

On the topic of security, you will want to make sure that you are not only protecting yourself against external threats, but also the ones that can influence your internal productivity or are sourced from within your business. In other words, you need to cover your butt. This can be (at least partially) accomplished by including a few items in your policy:

 

  • Any lost or stolen devices need to be reported to IT within 24 hours, with the mobile carrier notified immediately.
  • By using their mobile device, an employee consents to the company’s acceptable use policy and adheres to it.
  • Any mobile device is subject to being disconnected from the network or have its services disabled without notice.
  • Should a device need to be remotely wiped to protect company data, IT will make every effort to protect the user’s data from being lost. However, the company’s security will come first, which means that users need to take their own backups.

 

It is important to put all of these policies in writing to establish precedence.

Acceptable Use

Your mobile device policy should create clear guidelines for how your employees are to use their personal devices in the workplace, or out of it for work purposes. Many of these are largely up to your discretion, while others tie back into security and are strongly recommended. This is why you will want to include things like:

 

  • Clear definitions of acceptable business use and acceptable personal use on company time, as well as what actions are forbidden at any time (such as storing illicit materials or harassing others).
  • A list of the business resources that employees can access via their mobile devices.
  • Approved and disapproved applications – including those acquired outside of Google Play or iTunes.
  • Which websites cannot be accessed through the corporate network.

 

Again, this has been a very brief selection of points for your mobile device policy to cover. For more assistance designing, implementing, and enforcing it, reach out to the pros at VentureNet.

There Are Some Serious Benefits of Backup

How are you protecting your data from disaster? If you don’t have a backup and disaster recovery platform in place you are missing one of the most crucial parts of managing your business’ Think about it, if your organization were to suddenly lose a significant portion of its data, would it be able to continue to function effectively?

 

For years, when a business had a redundancy platform, it would have been magnetic tape. A tape backup has several problems. It isn’t automatic like the modern BDR. It has to be manually taken at a time when data isn’t being used. This causes major problems for the modern business that functions around the clock. Furthermore, you had to store the tapes, and someone had to manage it. All these problems are avoided with BDR.

Using BDR

If you want data redundancy for your business in the information age, you need to get a BDR. Not only is your data backed up locally, it is also pushed to the cloud. Having data on site is great if you need to quickly restore something, or if you server crashes and you need a substitute server, while cloud backup is great for protecting the data in case of a major disaster that knocks out your onsite hardware.

 

The BDR is automated to back up data incrementally, meaning that once there is a full backup taken, the BDR only copies changes made since the last backup. This allows you to run backups frequently (as frequently as every 15 minutes). Additionally, if you need to restore from you BDR, VentureNet can do a bare-metal restore, ensuring that you get all the data you need.

 

Avoiding data loss is essential if you want to maintain solid operational effectiveness and maintain a sterling reputation. For more questions reach out the IT professionals at VentureNet today at 214-343-3550.

Small Business and the Internet of Things

For the amount that you hear the phrase “the Internet of Things” you’d think that it is the newest Ben and Jerry’s flavor. We hear it everywhere. On the television: “the Internet of Things”. In the stores: “the Internet of Things”. Even on the Internet there is this constant stream of consciousness that references the Internet of things. Well, today we are going to look at the Internet of Things as it is, and why you need to listen to what everyone is saying about the Internet of Things.

What Is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things is essentially referencing all the “smart” devices being manufactured today that can be connected to the Internet. The “things” are everywhere. They include mobile devices, appliances, wearable technology, and all types of other mechanical and digital machines. There are even smart dog collars. This may seem innocuous enough, but the fact is that each “thing” is an endpoint that needs access to your network. Since your network is the lifeblood of your business, controlling endpoint access is critical to keeping it free of threats.

 

Now, your company may not have an office dog with a smart collar, but it likely has a working staff. That staff is bringing more “things” into your office than ever before, and if you don’t do anything about it, it could cause some serious problems for you. In fact, according to a survey from the Ponemon Institute, 20 percent of companies that had a data breach have traced that attack back to unsecured IoT devices. Fortunately, you have the resources to keep IoT devices from becoming problematic, and today you need to start taking advantage of them.

Keep Your Team Aware

When you set out to write your business’ mobile security regulations, the things you have in mind are typically your staff’s mobile devices and any smart tools that your company already uses. The emergence of more “things” on your network changes the way it has to be managed. That’s why you should let your people know that IoT devices, while increasingly useful and secure, are an emerging problem that could be putting the company’s operations in jeopardy.

Try to Limit Your Exposure

The first thing you will want to do is to enact some semblance of procedure surrounding the management of these devices. Do you want to quarantine them? You could create a guest network for these devices, but you would take on any cost of doing so. Do you want to outlaw them? You could, but that IoT fueled coffee mug your receptionist just got from her parents for her birthday would go the way of so many coffee mugs, stored in a dusty cabinet someplace.

 

To be effective in keeping IoT-driven problems off of your network, it’s not necessary to eliminate the use of IoT devices, and it doesn’t have to cost your business more capital to build a secure network for all of the devices. All it takes is to register network-attached devices. That means all of them. Every laptop or smartphone, tablet or smartwatch needs to be registered.

Secure Those Devices

To take it a step further, each device needs to have built-in security or be secured before being put on your business’ network. The IoT has a lot of devices that don’t have the necessary security, and if they are on your network, they are vulnerabilities. You need to be positive that any new device cannot hurt your business. Any IoT device you allow needs to be updated to its last firmware update and needs to be secured with proper password and two-factor authentication practices.

 

If you plan on hosting IoT devices–and you should because they can have benefits for your business–you will want to ensure that you are in control of your network. If you need help with IoT–or device–security, don’t hesitate to reach out to the technology professionals at VentureNet at 214-343-3550.

A Recent Data Theft Shows Us What to Watch Out For

Trend Micro, the developer of the popular antivirus program, has attracted some unwanted attention after a former employee managed to steal customer data and sell it to scammers. These scammers then use this data to call Trend Micro customers. If you use Trend Micro’s antivirus solutions, you’re going to want to pay close attention to any calls you get.

What Happened?

We aren’t shy about informing our clients about the potential dangers of allowing access to more than an employee needs to do their job. This is a practical example of why we say that.

 

The (now former) Trend Micro employee was able to access more data than they needed to have. Trend Micro provided a pretty succinct explanation of the situation, saying that the employee was able to “gain access to a customer support database that contained names, email addresses, Trend Micro support ticket numbers, and in some instances telephone numbers. There are no indications that any other information such as financial or credit payment information was involved…”

 

The perpetrator’s name has not yet been made public, but whoever they were, they were able to bypass Trend Micro’s internal protections.

 

Consider what it would take for a phone scam to really be convincing: really, if you were called by someone from “Trend Micro” who knew who you were and that you were a user of their product, you wouldn’t have much reason to doubt them, would you? The data that was up for grabs at Trend Micro contained much more information than that, making it potentially even more valuable to a cybercriminal or scam artist.

You Need to Watch Out for Unsolicited Tech Support Calls

As you might imagine, this scam has been around for about as long as there have been personal computers and is in no way exclusive to Trend Micro customers. Tech support scams have been used to target users for years, often profiling users by their age to find victims more likely to fall for the ruse. Combining this profiling with scare tactics and put-on urgency, the scammer is able to shock their target into handing over their credit card information or allowing the scammer to access their PC remotely.

It isn’t uncommon for these scammers to identify themselves as a member of some “Microsoft Windows support team” or another support company. If the targeted business is big enough, a scammer may just claim to be from the IT department.

 

This is why you have to be sure that all of your employees know how to have their technology support questions addressed through the right channels.

You Also Need to Keep Your Employees from Accessing More than They Need

Take a critical look at the permissions you afford your employees as far as your network is concerned. How accessible are the folders you store your sensitive information in, like a client’s personal data or financial information?

 

Best practices dictate that an employee only be given access to what they need to do their job, while common sense dictates that you can’t make an employee’s job too difficult for them, either. Striking a balance between the two can be tricky but working with your IT provider to establish permissions makes it far easier.

 

If you want to avoid potentially running into a similar situation as Trend Micro did, enforcing security policies is a step you need to take. Doing so should include access control to certain files and areas of your network, requiring MFA/2FA (multifactor/two-factor authentication), and quite a bit of planning to put it all together. However, if it keeps your data safe from threats (inside and out), it’ll be worth the damage control you get to avoid.

 

If you could use some assistance in securing your network and educating your employees about how scams can be identified, give VentureNet a call. Our professionals are here to help – call 214-343-3550 today.

 

Start Using Two-Factor Authentication Everywhere, Today

It can be easy to slack off when it comes to good password practices. Many users still use the same password across multiple sites and often don’t use secure passwords. Password managers make this a lot easier, but it’s really two-factor authentication (2FA) that can make all the difference. Strong, unique passwords are still important (not all accounts offer two-factor authentication) but let’s talk about why you should always enable two-factor or multifactor on all of your accounts when possible.

 

Getting into my programs or logged onto different websites has been easy enough by using a password management tool, especially since there are settings that can be enabled to remember a specific device. When logging on from a different device, my phone or email is immediately hit with a notification. It’s a PIN, and without the PIN there is virtually no chance of logging in. This might be annoying if my phone isn’t on me and I’m sent a text notification, but let’s be honest, I don’t go anywhere without my phone, it’s my most valuable tool.

 

So, you might have tried 2FA before or you might have been endlessly hitting the “ask me later” option that you are prompted with on new software that implemented the additional authentication measures. Whether you decide to use it or not there is one indisputable statement regarding this feature: two-factor authentication makes your accounts more secure.

What Is Two-Factor Authentication

Even if you haven’t used 2FA, you’ve probably seen it in action. In fact, many sites, like bank accounts, Google, and Facebook might force a type of 2FA on you. If you’ve ever logged into a website from a different computer and then received an email or notification on your phone that a login from an unknown location just happened – that’s two-factor authentication. Albeit, it’s the reactive version that doesn’t do much to prevent others from gaining access to your information. Let’s not rely on being reactive, and look at true two-factor authentication.

 

By definition, two-factor or multi-factor authentication is an authentication method in which a computer user is granted access only after successfully presenting two pieces of evidence to an authentication mechanism: knowledge, and possession.

 

Knowledge: This is your password. You’ve memorized it or stored it securely in a password manager. The idea is that only you know it or have access to that information. In events where you don’t know your password, some sites might also accept your full email address or phone number in order to reset your password.

 

Possession: This is something that you own and almost always have in your possession. This is typically your smartphone, but other methods might have you carrying around a USB thumb drive or an electronic key that generates a random number.

 

The instantaneous code that is sent provides one more feature. It acts as an informant. If somebody were to log into one of my accounts with my password, I would find out instantly. Even then, they wouldn’t be able to get the PIN from my text message or authenticator app to finish the login process. This tells me I should change my password immediately, but otherwise my account should be safe.

Don’t Assume You are Safe

Enabling two-factor authentication won’t entirely protect you from threats or breaches. If you have two-factor set up on Facebook, Facebook can still get breached and passwords could be stolen. We see this happen all the time, with high profile attacks on large online entities stealing millions of records in a shot.

 

Following the other password best practices, like using strong passwords and never using the same password on two accounts is critical.

 

Recently, we saw the launch of Disney+, and it was reported that several thousand users had their brand-new accounts hijacked within hours of the launch of the service. This wasn’t because Disney was hacked; hackers just attempted to log in to steal accounts with emails and passwords they already had from some other data breach.

 

Phishing attacks are plaguing millions of inboxes every single day. These attacks replicate the website in which they are impersonating, with a realistic login screen. Users are tricked to go there, fill in their information, and the credentials are directly sent to the cybercriminals.

 

As previously mentioned, 2FA isn’t the fix-all to cybersecurity. It does however put one more step between you and an ill-willed cybercriminal. VentureNet has many more tips to help your business become more secure. If you would like to talk to one of our experts, give us a call at 214-343-3550.

Speed Things Up with Solid State Drives

Using a slow computer can be very frustrating; and, since there is a laundry list of things that can cause your computer to slow down, you may have a difficult time troubleshooting the problems. Slow computers can be filled with viruses or malware, they can have too many applications running in the background, or they could just be getting old. If your computer is relatively new and in healthy condition, but is starting to slow, one upgrade can make a big difference.

Update the HDD to an SSD

The hard drive of the computer is used to store data. Most of the computers built today come with what is called a hard disk drive (HDD). That is the type of hard drive that has been found in computers since the launch of the PC in the 1980s. These drives tend to do fine at first, but over time they can degrade as they are written to (and written over) several hundred times. Today, there is a powerful alternative option, the solid state drive (SSD).

 

The HDD works by storing data on very thin magnetic platters. These platters are stacked on top of each other and spin at a rate of ~7,200 revolutions per minute. A magnetic head reads and writes data from the spinning disk, much the way a record player plays a vinyl record.

Since there are so many moving parts, it takes a bit for the drives to spin up, for the head to find the data, and then read the data for transmission. This happens very quickly, but as time goes on, it takes longer and longer.

 

Alternatively, solid state drives have no moving parts. They store data electronically, and as a result, they work efficiently at reading and writing data. They are also more energy efficient, faster, and if used in the same way as an HDD, they tend to last longer.

So Why Don’t Manufacturers Build Systems with SSD?

Simply put, cost. SSDs are slightly more expensive than HDDs, and manufacturers, looking to profit from computer sales can sell more units if they are priced more modestly. SSDs also don’t typically support the large capacity needs of some business computers.

 

The price difference between HDD and SSD is noticeable, but the gap is shrinking. Only a short time ago, if you were looking to build a dozen computers for your office, you would have to choose HDD because the price difference would have been significant. The difference today, however, is negligible. Moreover, the performance increase that SSD brings will speed up computing, making things more efficient. One problem with SSD is that if you need high capacity hard drives, SSD drives with multiple terabytes on them are still much more expensive than comparable HDDs, but that only starts to affect users who need to store a massive amount of data on their PC, like video editors and gamers.

How Much of a Difference Can SSDs Make?

The results you will see will vary based on the device’s hardware profile and the software that is being run on it, but we can provide an existential example:

 

A PC that was bought four years ago with a traditional HDD took about 48 seconds to get to the login screen when booting up. It then took an additional 80 seconds before the user could get to their email.

 

Our technicians migrated all of the data to a new SSD, and the boot time (to the login screen) went down to 12 seconds. After logging in, it took about 20 seconds to get into email.

It’s Time to Upgrade

If you are looking to improve your business’ efficiency, upgrading the technology that your staff uses to get things done is a good investment. Call us today at 214-343-3550 to learn more about how solid state drives can help your business get ahead.

The End Has Come for Windows 7

On January 14th, Microsoft pulled the plug on both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. If your business still has to move away from this software, you need to act quickly. The consequences for not moving away from these titles can be absolutely dire for your business, and the risks will only increase with time. Let’s take a look at your options.

Option 1 – Purchase Upgraded Hardware and Migrate Your Data

This may not seem desirable (or possible), but with support ending for these titles, you will need to do your best to upgrade away from your current infrastructure. One real problem you are going to face is that the expedited nature of any migration will almost certainly cost you much more than if you would have upgraded months ago.

 

While Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 will still work, they are no longer supported. This means that any crucial security updates and software patches that are needed will no longer happen, leaving any vulnerability wide open for hackers to exploit.

 

If your organization simply cannot afford to purchase new hardware, you may be able to at least upgrade to a supported platform on your endpoints. The minimum specifications that Windows 10 needs to run on a workstation are:

 

  • Processor – 1 GHZ or faster
  • RAM – 1 GB for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
  • Hard disk space – 16 GB for 32-bit or 20 GB for 64-bit
  • Graphics card – DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
  • Display – 800 x 600 resolution

 

Realize that this is the minimum, so don’t expect the system to run efficiently if these are the specs of your workstations. We recommend at least a 2 GHz dual-core processor, supported by 8 GB of RAM, and a hard drive with at least 160 GBs of space.

Option 2 – Virtualization

Another option is that you can migrate your data and processing to the cloud. This option will also be costly, but it’s much more cost-effective than purchasing new hardware and software for every machine at the last moment. Businesses have begun to leverage virtual machines in cloud-hosted platforms such as AWS and Azure rather than hosting their infrastructure in-house.

 

This also eliminates the need for huge computer upgrades as each end point you depend on can run as thin clients. The cloud-based system may not save you money in the long run, but being able to pay for your IT improvements as an operating expense rather than a huge capital expense, especially considering the lack of time you have before the software becomes unsupported, is a huge win.

Option 3 – Microsoft 365

Sure, Microsoft 365 won’t solve your major Windows Server 2008 R2 problems, but it can be a great option if you really need to maintain productivity AND upgrade. Microsoft 365 provides users and administrators the tools they need to conduct business. It features Windows 10 for Business, the Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite (including Microsoft Teams, Outlook email, and OneDrive storage space), and customizable security tools that allow you to retain control of your organization’s data. By being able to get all the tools your team needs on such a short schedule, you can maintain productivity while you figure out your next move. Heck, you may like Microsoft 365 and choose to keep it as a core part of your productivity strategy.

 

The time is now to upgrade. Reach out to VentureNet today at 214-343-3550 to talk to one of our knowledgeable consultants and let us help you figure out how to get past this looming deadline before your entire business is in jeopardy.

Training Has to Be a Big Part of a Cybersecurity Strategy

Do you know those horror stories you catch every so often where a huge business has their network hacked and millions of their customers and employees have their personal and financial information leaked onto the dark web? Your organization isn’t likely as big as theirs, but regardless of how much money, people, and diverse revenue streams an organization has, having its network breached and its customers’, or its employees’, information strewn about over the dark web is not an ideal scenario.

 

The problem is that you, like these enterprise businesses, spend huge percentages of their available IT budget on security. So why is everyone dealing with this problem? It’s simple: It only takes one mistake to put everything at risk. More precisely, all it takes is one person falling for a phishing scam or one person that has a too-easy-to-guess password to make big problems for your business. That’s why it is important that you give each employee the knowledge and tools necessary to keep your business secure. Let’s take a look at some tips you can use to do so.

Include Everyone

The first thing you should do is understand that anyone can be the weak link of your business’ security chain. Hackers have strategies that aim to target any level of your business, from your custodian to the CEO, and in order to stay secure, everyone has to receive the same knowledge and complete the same training. The only way to gain any confidence that you aren’t going to be the next business dealing with ransomware or a top-to-bottom data breach is if you know that you’ve prepared your people properly.

 

The security culture is not all that difficult to implement, in theory, but as we stated above, all it takes is one. This means that in order to put together a security training platform that works for everyone, you need to include everyone in it, and keep at it. Many times, an organization that falls victim to an attack has a thorough cybersecurity strategy in place, but complacency takes over. In order for people to work diligently to keep your company’s data safe, you need to make everyone aware that it is always under attack.

Meet Potential Problems with Solutions

Many times decision makers make the mistake that they can control everything. When it comes to security, however, there is almost assuredly people that know better. These security professionals, like the ones at VentureNet, deal with IT security every single day. As a result, they know exactly what needs to happen to keep your business secure. They know what training materials work, they know what antivirus and firewall to use, they know a lot more than you do about how to keep business’ IT free of downtime, and secure.

 

These professionals will ensure that all software systems are patched and up-to-date. They have worked with business-class software that is priced in a matter commensurate with its effectiveness. By hiring someone to come in and handle your in-house security infrastructure, you will be giving your employees all the tools needed to keep your business secure and working efficiently.

Create Policies that Eliminate Risk

In order to promote a secure network and infrastructure, the way that employees interact with their technology needs oversight. You need to put in policies and procedures that actively address the security needs of your company. This does two things: First, it gives your staff a set of very clear dos and don’ts. If these rules are broken, there needs to be repercussions. This way, if a threat is present, individual judgment is eliminated, and there is a unified response. You can’t be afraid of adequately preparing for security problems.

 

Some policies you will want to confront include:

 

  • Acceptable use
  • Phishing and spam
  • Passwords and access control
  • Multi-factor/Two-factor authentication
  • Mobile device management
  • Internet of things monitoring
  • Remote access
  • Incident response
  • Business continuity
  • File and media destruction
  • Physical security

 

…and more.

 

Moreover, physical security is a big part of keeping your business free from outside threats. A business needs to have a good physical security system that includes security cameras and end-to-end access control to ensure that all onsite assets are looked after.

 

Finally, there has to be understanding that even if you’ve implemented a strong training system that actively keeps users engaged in the security of the company, there is always the threat that someone that already has access will use it nefariously. That’s why some businesses are considering security right from the first interview. If your new hire isn’t genuine enough to gain the interviewer’s trust, then he may not be a good fit at an organization where it only takes one lapse to ruin things.

 

If you would like to talk about your business’ security strategy, or if you want to put in a strong training platform and don’t know where to start, contact the IT professionals at VentureNet today at 214-343-3550.

Deploy IT with a Purpose

As information technology becomes commonplace in nearly every business, it stands to reason that some businesses will put pressure on themselves to get some of the most innovative tools available. On the surface, this seems like a great idea, but just because a piece of technology exists, doesn’t mean it will help your business right now. We thought it would be a good time to take a look at some strategies that will help you build the technology your business needs to see a positive return on those investments.

 

Before we start, we should identify the parts of the business where IT is typically deployed. The purpose of IT is to make operations more efficient, allow for collaboration, automate simple aspects for cost reduction, protect business against disaster and more. The most important role that IT has in any business is as a worker interface. Most workers today are proficient with digital systems. This creates a nice standardized working experience in which people can get more things done and collaborate more effectively.

 

This seems like a great situation: You get more out of your workers and streamline your processes. It’s not so cut and dry, however. Many small business owners contend that investments in technology often fail to meet the expected ROI. The reasons include:

 

  • Ongoing maintenance costs
  • Payroll considerations
  • Faster-than-expected obsolescence
  • Upfront costs make rapid ROI impossible
  • Solution complexity
  • Lack of reliability

 

So, with these variables causing businesses to rethink their technology investment strategies, how can decision makers work to ensure that their organization sees a dependable return on their strategic technology investments?

 

First, an organization’s decision makers will want to have realistic expectations of the technology they plan on implementing. There’s a growth period to the use of any technology, and often it is sold as a solution to a problem with no mention of the adjustments that would keep the solution from immediately returning a strong ROI.

 

Secondly, you need to take a hard look at your operational effectiveness as it is and ask yourself if you are looking to technology investments because they can help bring better profitability; or, because leaning on innovative new technologies isn’t as prudent as working to upgrade the technology your organization already depends on. Occasionally, decision makers will overlook practical changes for more dynamic ones, leaving decisions that could have a better ROI wait for more innovative, and less effective tools.

 

Lastly, there are options available today that are designed to limit your organizational cost while providing the value any business can use. Cloud-based services such as Infrastructure as a Service, Software as a Service, and hosted communications solutions can really make adding powerful computing resources easy. The value of paying monthly for only what is used can boost the return of a company’s technology investments substantially.

What Is the Purpose?

Upgrading for the sake of upgrading is nice, if the business can afford to do that; but, realistically, what business can? It’s important that each piece of technology helps an organization meet its goals. Are you considering expanding your data analytics platform to get more concrete answers about your business? Will investing in a more dynamic communications platform save you money by using your company bandwidth rather than paying for a business telephone system through your local telephone provider? Will integrating an end-to-end management software save enough time and money to improve customer-facing services and support?

 

Ultimately, there are hundreds of business technologies out there that promise to improve a business’ ability to function efficiently. What the small business owner or decision maker needs to ascertain, of course, is how will the investment in a particular technology serve to accomplish this. Once an inefficiency is identified, the purpose of an investment in technology is to make that more efficient. If a decision maker can deploy technology that effectively eradicates the stated problem, the solution will ultimately be worth it.

 

There is a lot of technology out there that could potentially help your business, and the IT professionals at VentureNet can help you strategically deploy solutions for your business’ most glaring operational problems. Call us today at 214-343-3550 to talk to one of our knowledgeable consultants and we’ll get you started on improving your business through the deployment of technology today.