Challenges Facing Mid-Sized Businesses

by Jack Gesualdi, April 16th, 2015 in CTO

DataSmall businesses that survive the first few critical years and are looking to expand face a number of challenges. Companies that are already mid-sized also face challenges too. The economy in the U.S. has been trending upwards, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start to slip backwards. When the economy hits a rough patch it’s the businesses which have made the most cost-effective decisions that usually survive. If you’re the owner of a mid-sized business or hold a high position in one, it’s worth taking a look and reevaluating everything happening that you’re responsible for in the business. It never hurts to ensure you’re getting the most out of every dollar your business spends, especially when it means you’re able to weather those rough times. Here are some challenges mid-sized business face and how to meet them.

Challenge #1: Managing Growing Data

You have probably witnessed first-hand that your company is dealing with more data each month as your customer base grows. This is a good sign because it means you are receiving more customers, but finding a cost effective solution to handle all that data is difficult. The capital investment for new servers, the software required keeping them up-to-date and the staff needed to manage them almost 24/7 is not cheap. By investing in managed hosting services, you can eliminate those high initial capital costs and know that you’ll have a dedicated and trained staff watching over your servers 24/7. The other bonus to managed hosting services is your monthly cost is fixed and predictable. When running your own hardware, if something fails on you the cost spike can come at a bad time and be very damaging.

Challenge #2: Going Mobile

Due to the recent advances in technologies, the need for hardware and how we train employees is changing regularly. Keeping up with this can be costly. It’s no longer necessary for everyone to always work from the office. Many jobs can be easily completed from home thanks to VPNs, Dropbox, and other utilities. Having employees using technology they’re already familiar with that allows them do their jobs efficiently helps save on hardware and training costs. Allowing employees to regularly work from home also reduces the amount of office space required, which can cut down on your costs too.

Challenge #3: Having an Online Presence

Customers are regularly searching online for everything they need now if they don’t already have a familiar service provider in mind. A business that lacks a website (or a website that is well built and customer friendly) is losing money. The value of a strong website that is optimized for SEO and pragmatically laid out is massive. The cost of maintaining a professional website is well worth the benefits. It is important too, that the website be optimized for mobile devices, as the number of searches each year on mobile devices is rapidly increasing. Customers expect websites to be regularly updated with news and other information about the company; think of your website as on-going advertising of your services and products. If your website seems “stale” and content is not updated or added, customers stop visiting…and that can directly impact whether they purchase from you or from a competitor with an up-to-date and more interesting site.

The Importance of Delegation in Business

by Jack Gesualdi, March 16th, 2015 in CTO

As your business grows from a small business to a small-medium one and so on you will discover how important it is to effectively delegate out work that needs to be accomplished.  At first you may think it is better for you to do certain tasks yourself because you know how to do them best and in the most efficient manner, and you may be worried about someone else doing this.  These are understandable concerns, but what you need to realize is that your time and energy needs to put towards the tasks that help increase business and develop the overall company.  These are the tasks which keep business coming in and allow a company to expand.

Let’s examine various tasks that you can delegate out in order to improve your company.

  • Create a VP if you don’t already have one, or someone who is second in command. Have them be familiar with everything and everyone in the company.  As your company grows you will find yourself having more meetings that take you away from the company or possibly business trips, which means you need someone you can trust to handle the overall leadership and day-to-day activities at the company.
  • Find quality business IT support services that have a plan which works for you. Too many companies make the mistake of spending lots of capital and space in investing in their own servers and all of the baggage that comes with them.  Finding a quality company to outsource your daily IT-support services to will not only cut off the initial capital investment, but also save you from unexpected price spikes during the month.
  • Find a good HR Manager. A good HR manager will have their ear to the ground and will have a strong network which they can look to for finding skilled workers.  It was one thing when your business was small and it was you and maybe a few other people, but now that you’re growing you need someone to handle this for you.  It’s still fine to have them report to you and even drop in for a short interview for potential applicants, but your focus now needs to be directed elsewhere.
  • Struggling to come up with a solution to a problem or trying to improve the business in some way. Don’t let it all fall on your shoulders.  Have others in your company brainstorm with you.  This relieves the pressure of you having to figure it out by yourself and gets workers more involved.

 

Why a Hybrid Cloud May Be the Best Data Center Service

by Jack Gesualdi, February 27th, 2015 in Data Center

 

hybrid cloud concept

Business today involves a challenging cycle: growth fuels not only profits but increased IT needs, and increased IT needs place a heavy demand on your technological infrastructure. Most businesses find that their information storage never quite seems big enough, and rely on a variety of data center services to try to keep the costs down.

One of the most lauded of those data center services is enterprise cloud computing. Put simply, this involves outsourcing all of your server/data storage needs to a cloud-based network so that you are not responsible for the costs of buying, running, and maintaining physical equipment. Cloud computing does live up to its reputation, reducing data storage costs and improving performance—however, in recent years, private cloud computing has become more popular among businesses with more specific needs.

A managed private cloud has extra security features that make it appealing to companies that store sensitive internal or client information. The service also allows for more exact and customized scaling when your business expands. This extra security comes at a somewhat steeper price, though, meaning that you’ll have to carefully consider your budget and the necessity of such service.

Besides, what about the equipment you’ve already bought and paid for? Is eliminating an on-site data center really a cost-effective option when you’ve already invested in it?

Enter hybrid cloud computing. A hybrid cloud strikes a balance between all three options: it utilizes your existing physical infrastructure, a dedicated private cloud, and a public cloud where needed. You can continue to use your current data center or colocation service that you’ve already invested in and know works, while moving some long-term, consistent workloads to a private cloud where you get optimum performance. When you have periodic increases in workload, you can shift these fluidly to a public cloud at low cost or assess booking more private cloud space for long-term scaling. In other words, you can use your existing resources to offset the cost of switching to a managed private cloud, while enjoying all of the flexibility of pure cloud computing. And you never have to buy another piece of equipment again.

Hybrid cloud computing isn’t the only enterprise data center service worth looking at but, for companies that are tired of the cost of scaling their IT needs, it’s an excellent option that blends affordability with performance.

Why You Should Ask Your Data Center Host about Server Virtualization

by Jack Gesualdi, February 4th, 2015 in Data Center, Hosting

Data center hosting plans run the gamut from simple third-party management of systems to an entirely outsourced offsite data center experience. Most companies use services that fall somewhere in between the two, maintaining their own in-house servers but contracting a data center service to host backups or enable cloud computing. Unfortunately, that means that many companies are failing to get everything they can out of their server hardware.

Every company has growing data storage needs, and the cost of adding new servers can be high. Success as a business inevitably means you need to scale your information storage capacity, but you shouldn’t have to pay through the nose to do so. And with a data center hosting company that provides server virtualization, you don’t have to.

Server virtualization allows you to optimize your company’s data storage hardware by creating multiple virtual machines to handle your storage needs. In other words, your information infrastructure doesn’t need to consist of one piece of hardware to one server. Virtual machines do the same job as a physical machine, but several can be hosted per server and a machine’s resources can be passed more fluidly between the different systems that need them.

Virtualizing your data storage has many benefits:

  • Optimal use of network resources – Physical servers are all too commonly set up in a way in which not all of their system resources are needed to manage the tasks they perform. Meanwhile, other servers may struggle with insufficient memory for all the tasks they have to run. The result is a network that wastes badly needed storage space and resources. Virtual machines can spread resources across several servers and assign the right storage capacity to each one, while improving performance at the same time.
  • Fewer new equipment costs – Do you really need to order another machine every time you run up against capacity limits? Not with virtual machines. When you need more capacity, all you have to do is set up a new VM and assign the resources to it that it needs. You can be up and running almost immediately.

image of data center

  • Redundancy – Server virtualization means that a single VM can be run on two physical servers so that one can take up the slack from the other in the event of an outage or resource shortage.

Has your business explored server virtualization as a way to save money and increase performance? Call or contact us at DSS Data Center and ask about virtualization today!

 

The Dilemma of Choosing an IT Outsource Service

by Jack Gesualdi, January 16th, 2015 in Support

Data CenterThe foundations of a successful business have to be stable and well prepared to handle increasing demands and changes. In today’s world, one of the cores for every business is the IT network. This is what allows employees to communicate with each other and with customers, it is where all the data is kept, it is what keeps the company running. The costs of an IT department can make or break a business, or at least severely impact its bottom line. Each business must ask itself, what the goal of its IT department is, and what type of costs it can afford. This is why many small to medium businesses have begun choosing IT outsourcing services as a solution to their IT dilemma.

There are some key issues that one needs to consider when evaluating their in-house IT department and an IT outsourcing service. What do you want your IT department focusing on? Do you want them focusing on putting out fires and doing routine maintenance tasks, or would you rather they are working on innovation? If an IT department is able to focus their efforts on improving the company’s website or mobile app which it uses to interact with customers, then it can increase business and revenues. If the IT department is always hamstrung doing maintenance, then it becomes a major cost to the company without being able to focus on long term projects.

Choosing an IT outsourcing company like DSS can alleviate a whole list of issues, such as:

  • No up-front costs for servers/hardware/software.
  • No variable maintenance costs.
  • The outsource company keeps employees up to date, so there is no need to worry about spending money and time training employees on new technology.
  • They are able to scale, meaning they can keep up with an increasing number of locations and transactions.

There are many services DSS can provide to a company it does IT service for.

  • We can provide strategic planning and Management. This means we are able to provide assistance on IT related projects or initiatives.
  • You no longer have to worry about finding the resources for your data center (space, power, maintenance) because all of it is done by us.
  • In-office and end-user support can be available and our professionals will be up to date on all the most current issues.
  • No need to worry about keeping your servers and software up to date because we do that for you.

Obviously, there is a question of data security, always make sure the IT outsource company you partner with is trustworthy. IT outsourcing isn’t for every company, which is why it’s important to do research beforehand. Start with the basics: server and software costs, maintenance requirements, data storage needs, on-site or virtual support for employees, customer support functions and plans for expansion. Then if you see outsourcing your IT is the right decision, DSS will be waiting.

 

Building your Small Business’s IT Support Foundation

by Jack Gesualdi, January 6th, 2015 in Support
data center

As a small business unraveling the issue of IT support can appear daunting. There is a lot to consider when first setting up a business. What type of computer system do your employees need? What type of information access and how much storage do you need for the company? It is important too, that you get the proper support and assistance with everything, otherwise you may run into issues. All of this, if not properly set up and managed from the get-go can lead to costs that a small business cannot afford. Minimizing these costs as much as possible while ensuring your company’s IT system will do the work you need it to do is paramount.

Many small businesses make the beginner’s mistake of relying on that person at the office who plays a lot of video games to be the computer guru who can fix any IT issues the company experiences. Others rely on that employee’s relative or friend who is ‘interested in computers’ to provide assistance. Others think that the hardware manufacturer’s support line or some big box electronic store’s service department will be able to provide the solution. Unsurprisingly, most times these people are undereducated and unable to fix the problems, leaving the business stuck in the mud and losing customers. For a small business, problems such as this can be the difference between making it and being another forgotten and failed attempt.

Another major issue that small businesses struggle with when first implementing their computer system, is creating a user friendly network with servers that can store all of the data the company needs. DSS is committed to helping small businesses navigate all these challenges and making sure that their IT systems are kept up to date and quick. We cover everything from IT design & Implementation to Data Center Hosting and all of it comes with 24×7 support services.

Proper implementation of your IT system is what helps make your business agile and able to respond to changes quickly and handle unexpected issues. A good system also means having good security. Many small businesses are at risk from hackers or malware on the internet and this is where partnering with DSS helps protect not just your business, but also your customers. Keeping your customers private information secure is critical to maintaining their trust and continued loyalty. Every good company needs a strong foundation and that starts with having a smart, agile and secure IT network.