Launching a new business is hard – but while entrepreneurship is no easy path, there are definitely IT tech shortcuts you can take that will make your life infinitely easier.
We’ll take you through 3 of the most indispensable IT tech considerations for startups. Each has the potential to turn your startup launch from a headache to an overwhelming success!
If your startup will grow to any significant size in the short or medium-term then having a business IT network in place is going to save you a lot of unnecessary effort.
However humble your startup beginnings, you’re going to require business premises of some description. Here, you’re going to need internet access – the cornerstone of most startup business’s network.
A small business network tends to grow from this internet access – with a series of routers and switches connecting the devices you and your team will need to deliver your products or services to the world. Your network design requirements will hinge largely around your specific business needs – and it’s best to consider your needs, rather than hoping an ‘off the shelf’ solution will fit the bill. Think about:
- How many users, computers and other devices will need to be connected
- What kind of applications your users will need
- What you need to store on your network
- Whether you (or guests) will require wireless access to your network
- Whether you or other users will need to access your network from elsewhere
From here, a good managed service provider (MSP) will be able to plan a network that fits your requirements. They should also think about the future too – what is perfect now might not keep up with your requirements in a few months or years – and you don’t want to be faced with the prospect of having to make expensive upgrades any time soon.
Fortunately, the world of network management is changing. Where networks have previously required hands-on engineer interaction to make sure each device acts appropriately (with significant time and money implications), many cutting edge MSPs will now use software defined wider area network (SD WAN) solutions – using centralised software to help save time, money and often the need for having a network expert in-house. You can read more about the benefits of SD WAN solutions for business here.
Sophisticated network software services don’t cost the Earth – and they can further help your business by prioritising network functionality for your most important applications and services – meaning your ability to deliver your product or service is never undermined.
Security has never been more in the spotlight than it is today.
In many countries, laws that protect sensitive data were created a significant number of years ago – and during that time (sometimes in excess of 15 years) our internet use has changed enormously.
The European Union rolls out its General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in May 2018 – new laws that will see enormous fines and punishments for companies who don’t handle customer and business data appropriately. It’s expected that many other countries will roll out similar laws soon after.
Needless to say, company’s IT infrastructure and practice comes under significant scrutiny with GDPR – and it’s worth mentioning that even if you’re not EU based, if you handle data that relates to EU companies or citizens, you need to meet these guidelines.
Fortunately, appropriate tech is available to cover all potential security issues, including:
- Data backups
- Protection from malware
- Securing of remote devices
- Appropriate password behaviour
- Prevention of phishing attacks
While there’s rarely one piece of hardware or software that addresses each threat individually, you’ll find that having the right firewalls, virus protection, backup systems, security protocols and IT training in place will keep you and your data safe overall. If you’re in any doubt as to whether you have the skills to handle security in house, then talk to your MSP about how they can help.
Project management software
If you’re launching a startup you’re taking on one of the biggest projects in your life – so you deserve an infrastructure that will support that undertaking.
In fact, there are many people who’ll tell you that you just won’t succeed with launching a startup unless you have the correct project management software to keep you on track.
A startup sees the beginning of more than just your business – you’re also putting together a team of people who each have their unique ways of working. Where one person will like to pick up the phone to talk, another will prefer an email – and where one will keep excellent notes about what’s needed from them, another will constantly lose their notepad.
The only way you can create the harmony you need to make everything flow smoothly is to have the bulk of your important communication in one place. This is where a tool like BaseCamp, Asana or Trello can be invaluable.
With these types of software you normally start by creating a project. Now clearly, each project you begin will include different people – and even if you have a core team who need to understand everything, you may well have freelancers and contractors who are only involved with one aspect of what you’re doing.
So, you create a project, include the people you need and start to allocate tasks. Each task you create will have full details, attached files where needed, deadlines – and so forth, giving that person everything they need to achieve.
You’re likely to find that each project has its own messaging and discussion section too – so instead of spending time trying to recall conversations or investigate lengthy email threads, you can do a quick search of this central communication area.
Your individual users will get a detailed overviewed of what’s expected from them – and as the person at the helm of the project, you’ll get to see what everyone’s doing, each step of the way.
When you consider how much time you can spend making sure everyone’s on task, you’ll quickly realise that the right project management software will pay for itself 10x over when used properly.