When it comes to IT, mid-market businesses have more choices than ever before, and that means more decisions to make. There’s no one solution that makes sense for everyone - in fact each c

June 14, 2012

5 Min Read
5 Mid-Market IT Questions: From BYOD to Cloud Services

By EVault Guest Blog 2

five questions

When it comes to IT, mid-market businesses have more choices than ever before, and that means more decisions to make. There’s no one solution that makes sense for everyone – in fact each company needs to devise a custom solution that meets its specific, varied needs. There are a number of things to consider, and many companies don’t even know where to begin. They’re craving guidance and insight, especially when it comes to answering five key questions.

They include:

1. To BYOD or to NOT BYOD?  (That is the Question)

A BYOD (bring your own device) policy not only has the potential to save money, it also makes employees happier when they can use the device that they’re most comfortable with. While there are many benefits, a BYOD policy does require planning and process. CIO.com outlines seven guidelines for companies that are setting up a BYOD policy, including setting up a sufficient security system and having a good service plan.

Ultimately, it’s always important for businesses to be cognizant not just of positive outcomes but also of risks. In a BYOD work environment, it’s critical to ensure that private company data is protected. While a company can save money with a BYOD policy, losing data or leaving it vulnerable to hacking can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Your takeaway: Companies that are learning about BYOD plans need to learn about security options as well.

2. Do I hire someone internally to manage IT?

With all the cloud computing solutions these days, mid-market companies have the option of outsourcing any or all of their IT needs. While outsourcing was once not a viable option for smaller companies, IT prices have dropped dramatically in the past few years and it may even make more sense from a financial and expertise standpoint to outsource.

Depending on the overall organizational structure of a company, an internal IT expert or dedicated team is often unnecessary. The catch-22 is that non-IT folks (executive management, HR) are the ones making the decision to outsource. Decision-makers need to be diligent, do ample research and even talk to fellow business owners. In other words, ask the tough questions before making any decisions.

Your takeaway: While in many cases an outsourcing solution is the best choice, the key is finding the right partner that can work well with your organization and grow with your needs over time.

3. Should We Do Business on the Cloud?

The cloud certainly isn’t a new phenomenon, but many IT professionals and more traditional businesses don’t fully trust it yet. That said, the cloud is the ideal solution for companies that are looking to move quickly and maintain lean operations.

As Todd Wasserman explained in Mashable, “Computing, like electricity or water, can be a monthly service that’s piped in at a fee.” For smaller businesses, the cloud is now the fastest and most cost-effective solution.

Your takeaway: While speed and cost are factors, many businesses feel uncertain about whether the cloud is safe. They need to be properly educated. In reality, the cloud is as secure as an external hard drive.

4. Do We Need to Protect Our Data?

A company’s information and data are arguably its most valuable assets. Data loss costs $400 million annually and can represent as much as two to five percent of a company’s revenue, according to a recent survey of mid-market companies.

Surprisingly, many companies fail to adequately protect their data. Many that have lost data once don’t learn their lesson and lose it a second or third time. As mentioned above, more companies are employing cloud computing, implementing BYOD policies and storing data on mobile devices.

Despite this, many companies simply don’t have all the facts about data protection and the many options available. A variety of factors influence a company’s choices when it comes to data protection, such as how much data is stored on mobile devices, whether the business is located in an area prone to natural disasters and how much of the data is in the cloud.

Your Takeaway: Fortunately there are lots of options when it comes to protection of company-critical data including in-house, outsourcing, backup servers, cloud-based or cloud-connected.

5. Bells and Whistles: Enterprise social networks, project management tools, CRM and more!

It seems like there’s an endless stream of software designed to help companies engage their employees, streamline workflow and manage customers. Many organizations are wondering where to start and when to run for the fences. First and foremost, they need to understand the cost-benefit analysis. They also need to understand how to make the most of these tools and ensure that their employees will use them.

For example, tibbr and Yammer are both enterprise social platforms, but they have different capabilities with varying use cases aimed at companies that do different types of work. At the end of the day, the end goal of every IT decision is improving employee efficiency, productivity and engagement, and that means knowing things like whether Basecamp or Asana is the better project management tool for a business.

Your Takeaway: If companies can understand their own needs, they’ve already done the hardest part of the IT decision-making process. After that, they just need a little reputable information and education.

EVault President Terry Cunningham

Terry Cunningham is president and general manager of EVault, and honored as a 2011 CRN Channel Chief. The EVault Cloud-Connected Service Provider Program was name a “5-Star Program” in the 2011 CRN Partner Guide.

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