If you own a large company, you tend to have an entire department dedicated to IT. But the same isn’t necessarily true if you own a small to midsized business. As that small to midsized business owner, sometimes you end up taking responsibility for the IT management and may find yourself straddling between running the business and maintaining the integrity of your network.
Often times smaller companies have one person on staff to help with technical issues or installing software. And often times this person might not even be a trained IT tech, but rather an employee who just so happens to be great with computers. Consequently, the individual routinely gets pulled away from their desk to help fix issues.
Other times, companies lean on an administrative person to pick up the IT piece even though they have never dabbled in that field and are left to figure it out as they go along.
These scenarios are more common than you might think and as a result, can often leave the company with holes in their efficiency and security. This is why it is so important to have clear, comprehensive guidance that leaves the guesswork out of your one-person IT department planning. In this first blog edition, we want to help you get the process started properly. We are providing you with some first steps to consider as well as downloadable questions to help you plan your IT department.
For those of you who feel that the above scenarios describe you, we understand that venturing out and doing the research it takes to come up with a proper plan takes time that you don’t have and can raise confusion. Our goal is to ease your planning process by providing you with simple, but comprehensive, step by step instructions and IT solutions on what to do, when to do it and how to do it best.
Step 1: Prioritize and Organize: Fill the IT Gap
The first thing to remember is not to get bogged down by what can sometimes be an enormous undertaking, especially if you own the company and are managing IT needs simultaneously. That feeling of being overwhelmed will get the best of you. Focus on determining what tasks you feel are too complex to handle in-house and can be set aside for outsourcing. Partnering with an IT and cybersecurity company such as Twinstate can help you make this determination and manage those tasks.
Outsourcing specific parts of your IT and cybersecurity will give you peace of mind knowing that trained professionals have a handle on the tasks at hand while respecting the fact that you are an SMB with a budget to keep in mind. Once certain projects have been outsourced, it will allow you to re-adjust your focus to tasks that you can better handle on your own – and handle really well.
Step 2: Migrate and Centralize Information
Securing your network needs to be a first priority, and one of the best steps towards having strong security is centralizing your assets. Many companies may already have their own internal cloud established for their network. This can be beneficial for organizations such as banks or hospitals where massive amounts of sensitive information is being stored. Having your own personal cloud for your network is sometimes preferred to help ensure data protection.
Having your own cloud can relieve you of worry if you are concerned about your information being stored in a cloud over the internet. However, having your own cloud can create a whole new set of responsibilities and maintenance checks for you. Because creating and maintaining clouds can be time consuming and complex, partnering with a third-party IT professional can alleviate those concerns. They will be able to create a cloud specific to you and your business that will not require any information exchange over the internet or within a service that isn’t controlled by you.
Microsoft Office 365 is a great tool to install and allows you to migrate your information into an all-Microsoft environment, subscribe to plans and access Office applications and cloud service. The service includes all of the applications that Office is known for such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and more, but also allows services like Skype for Business web conferencing, Exchange online to host business, online storage with OneDrive for Business, and SharePoint, which acts as your company’s contact hub. However, unlike having your own cloud that is located internally for your company only, Office 365 hosts a cloud on their own network through the internet and is ultimately monitored by them and their service.
Although these steps to integration may seem simple and straightforward, migration centralization can be challenging. It may be wise to consider having a third-party IT partner on standby in the event you feel overwhelmed. It is always important to remember that this service can be outsourced and something that you may want to do based on your knowledge; only you can make that determination.
Step 3: Kick-off Your Data Backup Research
While Office 365 comes equipped with a cloud backup system, it’s never a bad idea to have two safety nets when it comes to your data protection. Datto is a great service for businesses that are looking for a cloud-to-cloud backup. This is a smart step to take when you consider the possibility of user error or compliance issues that could occur if all of your employees are using Office 365. Having the protection of Datto on top of having your internal cloud will allow all of your data to be backed up outside of your own network.
Step 4: Think Ahead, Don’t Act Ahead
Now that you have combed through your task list and organized what you and/or your team will be responsible for and tackle first, take time to think ahead. It is important that you try to see things from the overall perspective of what’s really going to have to go into making your system efficient and safe.
Try to think about your business processes and what measures should be taken to fit your needs. Envision your business in the years to come and what security measures you need now to ensure security down the road. Of course, you are still learning how to do all of this IT and security setup step by step and it might seem challenging to think ahead like this, but these are good points to keep in mind throughout this process.
Once these few tasks are completed, you will be ready to move on to creating the planning process and mapping out your security.
To help you with your IT department structure, we've created a series of worksheets for you. Print them off and use them to start building your IT department!
Read More: Section 2: IT and Security Architecture.
Originally published on 02/24/2017
Topic: IT Department Structure