Many small business owners are not IT experts, so finding the ideal IT infrastructure can be a daunting task.
It requires careful thinking about what you intend to get out of your systems, applications and networks, but there has never been a better time to find a great solution to your infrastructure problems.
It is often the case that SMBs are more agile than their bigger brethren. The ability to adapt quickly should be reflected in the choice of IT infrastructure. For example, software-as-a-service products such as Huddle and Salesforce are easy to extend and build upon.
Can it scale?
As you business grows, so will the infrastructure, but that growth isn't always linear and there will be times when you don't want a lot of unused capacity. It's highly important to find a platform that will scale down as well as up and can closely align with your business requirements.
Choosing services for which the pricing is based how much is used will save you from paying a penny more or less than necessary to meet your commercial needs. It can also save you from worrying about predicting future needs and buying infrastructure accordingly, and make better business sense over the long term.
This means you can reduce the need for heavy up-front investment, and shift the costs away from capital to operational expenditure, which is more likely to reflect your revenues. In many circumstances, this will also reduce total costs over the lifetime of the infrastructure.
So with the above in mind, what makes an ideal SMB IT infrastructure? Most organisations will use a combination of the following
Most companies are embracing the cloud and for many SMBs it can be cost-effective when compared to using on-premise infrastructure. It also offers scalability and, with the right supplier, high standards of reliability and security.
Many businesses can't run just from the office; their employees need to be in touch anytime or anywhere. An employee must have access to business systems whether they are in the office or at a client.
Mobility is a must-have and SMBs can gain an advantage over the bigger competitors who are struggling to mobilise legacy investments in IT.
Making sure your data is always accessible is a core demand on a business, so it is important to preserve that data using backups, and to protect your operations with a disaster recovery plan.
Most disaster recovery and backup offerings now being implemented are cloud-based. These tend to be cheaper and can be easily tested to ensure they work when you need them without having to disturb your business.
Overall, the ideal SMB IT infrastructure will be one that can adapt, is scalable and be run as an operational, rather than capital expense. It should play to the advantages you have over larger competitors as well as having the features for which they pay top price. But in order to achieve that you will have to think about how that infrastructure is defined and implemented.