5 Tips for Creating an Effective 2016 IT Budget
by Stephanie Faris on Monday, January 11 6:00
As a new year begins, businesses that operate on a calendar year start a new budget. If you are just starting on your budgeting work for the year or you have some flexibility with the budget you created late last year, there are things you can do to both satisfy your IT needs and keep costs down. Here are a few things to consider as you set your business s technology budget for the coming year.
Don t Skimp on Security
As expensive as your current security measures may be, it s important to make sure all of your systems, applications, and devices are safe from attack. This includes investing in malware and setting up firewalls to protect any servers under your control. One of the best things you can do this year that won t cost any extra money is to educate your employees on safe technology use, including protecting their passwords and avoiding clicking on unidentified links in emails.
Consider Equipment Replacement
When money is tight, it can be easy to put off replacing outdated equipment. But as computers and servers reach the five-year mark, they begin to pose a danger for a business that doesn t have a backup plan if it should suddenly fail. Instead of waiting for multiple computers to crash at once, businesses should plan to replace equipment on a rotating basis, setting aside money to switch out a small percentage each year over a three-to-five-year period.
Don t Blindly Follow Trends
Everyone s talking about the latest mobile devices, wearable technologies, and videoconferencing systems. It can be tempting to direct your IT resources to buying one of these impressive pieces of equipment, but such an expense can take away from where your business s money needs to go. Additionally, many new products have issues in the early days after release, making it better to wait until they ve been on the market a while.
Consider the Cloud
Many businesses have found it beneficial to exchange on-premise solutions for those that are hosted in the cloud. This can include your entire network infrastructure. When it s time to replace a costly server or upgrade an essential piece of business software, research cloud options and determine if a small monthly recurring cost is worth it to get the benefits of having the security and updates for those solutions provided by a third-party provider.
Unfortunately, many businesses still have waste in their IT departments due to old processes that have not been reviewed for years. It may no longer be wise, for instance, to have a full staff of help desk technicians who sit idle most of the day when you can contract with a local or remote provider that charges hourly rates. Review your IT processes this year and determine if there are areas you can make cutbacks and save large sums of money in the coming years.
While there are expenses that will take businesses by surprise over the course of a year, careful planning can help a business set money aside to prepare for those. By following these tips, your business can set a workable 2016 budget that will keep your devices and solutions up to date at minimal expense.