Run Your [New, Small, Growing] Business from Anywhere

The office for a small business used to be where all the work got done.  The hub of activity and productivity for a small business, the office was where you could connect with team members and co-workers and generally keep on the same page with what was going on in the business.  Customer orders are taken, those orders are fulfilled, and bills are paid – all from the small business office.  Yet today’s small business isn’t tied to the office location any longer.fishingpoles

Mobility and the cloud now provide businesses with mobile office options that allow users to get their jobs done no matter where they happen to be.  Business moves at a fast pace, and mobility and remote access solutions help companies be more nimble.  Collaborating while on the go and exchanging ideas and concepts quickly helps businesses be more agile and better-able to meet changing customer needs.  Successful small business owners leverage mobility and action to beat the competition.

The cloud and Internet-based computing lets small businesses access and benefit from IT solutions that were previously only available to enterprise organizations.  Better IT means being more competitive, giving smaller businesses a leg up and positioning them among even the largest of competitors. For the business owner, the freedom of being able to manage the entire business from anywhere delivers a freedom and flexibility previously unimagined.

Here are some ways hosted and cloud-based IT can help small businesses overcome everyday business challenges:

Reduce or Eliminate the Need for a Physical Office

Starting a business is tough, and many small business owners decide to use their own homes as a business location rather than forking over a bunch of lease money to a commercial realtor.  Using hosting application services and cloud technologies can help keep team members and co-workers working together, no matter where they are located.  Many businesses are able to get off the ground and operating successfully without ever having an established office.

Work when it Works for You

Remote desktops and hosted applications deliver functionality to users no matter where or when they need to work.  With ready access to everything needed to get the job done, workers are able to be productive even when they’re not at a desk (or even a computer!).  Smartphone and tablet apps can make working from a mobile device highly effective, extending productivity and capability to workers whenever and wherever it is required.

Keep Everyone on the Same Page

When systems are centrally located and accessed, it is easy to keep everyone on the same version, the same edition, and the same page.  No matter where users are located, documents and application data are kept in sync, ensuring that everyone is working on the most current information available.  Mobile access to applications and data keeps information from being distributed to various devices, making revision control easier and providing better protection for valuable business information.

Mobile computing and the cloud make it easy for small businesses to have better IT that enhances productivity and supports growth.  Reducing capital costs and exchanging large technology investments with affordable monthly subscription service gives small businesses the boost they need to implement the solutions and services which will develop and improve collaboration, streamline workflows, and reduce overhead costs while enabling a fast-paced and agile business ready to meet any challenge.

jmbunnyfeetMake Sense?

J

Considerations for Disaster Recovery Planning | Accounting and Business Technologies

Considerations for Disaster Recovery Planning

Disaster Recovery Planning is currently a leading topic of discussion for business IT administrators and owners, just as issues relating to business and technology operation and continuity have become a central point of discussion for many organizations. After the disaster occurs is the wrong time to determine whether or not your company is adequately protected. Unfortunately, when you need your plan most is when you find that you either do or do not have things well in hand.

Hurricanes, floods and tornadoes have taught many companies some hard lessons ranging from the inability to locate or communicate with employees to the entire loss of the business and surrounding community infrastructure. Certainly, the current situation is a reflection of the worst-case scenario, but it also points out some fundamentally important considerations that a company must incorporate when creating a technology plan for disaster recovery and business continuity.

EMPLOYEES ARE PEOPLE

One of the first things to remember in any disaster is that your employees are people. They have families, homes, lives outside the office, and responsibilities. They have fears and concerns. In short, they are human beings. This is a reality that is frequently overlooked in a disaster plan.

Much consideration may be taken with respect to handling business issues such as customer or vendor communications, technology and systems continuity, etc. But in the event of a disaster where lives are at stake, can the company expect personnel to overlook those personal impacts that present themselves, all in the name of keeping the company going? Probably not, unless perhaps they are in health care, law enforcement, or the military. Even in those cases, caring for family and loved ones may take precedence over job responsibilities. Businesses need to make certain that there are SYSTEMS in place to assist with continuity and recovery, as personnel may be hard to come by.

YOUR BUILDING IS NOT AN ISLAND

Businesses rely on facilities.

Facilities are created from infrastructure.

Infrastructure, more often than not, is not in your control.

Telephone service, connectivity, electrical power, street access to the building, access to the surrounding areas – these are infrastructure elements that you have little control over, if any at all. The loss of infrastructure, however, impacts you significantly. It does not matter how much backup power you have if you have no physical access to the building. And telephone service becomes valueless (frequently) if the power is out.

Redundancy can come in many forms, but creating fully redundant facilities means being redundant with the infrastructure. Opening offices in multiple locations, distributing personnel and resources to various locations – these all come with potentially tremendous cost impacts to the business. There are, however, affordable technologies and services available today which can help mitigate the impact of the loss of a location or facility, and whenever possible these services should be incorporated into your daily processes to ensure portability and a smooth transitioning of systems should the worst occur.

DEGREES OF PROTECTION

Developing an IT recovery and continuity plan is similar in nature to purchasing various types of insurance. The level and cost of protection must be evaluated based on the benefit to be derived, and weighted by the risk. For example, low-cost flood insurance is probably not worth the investment where there is no water. Obviously, there is cost associated with different levels and types of protection, and different situations warrant different types and levels of coverage.

In terms of IT continuity and recovery, the most frequently implemented form of “insurance” is redundancy or the duplication of a resource. Every business, however, has requirements that extend beyond a reasonable ability to fully duplicate. A small flower shop, for example, cannot reasonably afford to implement “alternative business locations” or a remote office in the event of the loss of the primary facility. With this reality in mind, the business must focus on addressing those conditions that are within its reasonable ability to control, as well as those that it can mitigate to some degree.

via Accounting and Business Technologies | Joanie Mann: Considerations for Disaster Recovery Planning.