It’s a question on the minds of many: Is there a recession coming?
While everyone can speculate, no one knows for sure. But it doesn’t hurt to think ahead.
Economic conditions hurt and favor all industries differently. Consider the impacts seen in grocery stores versus investment firms in 2020; the two types of business could see dramatically different effects in an economic downturn.
Regardless of the economy, it's always important to have smooth-running IT systems in place to maintain business productivity.
But what typically happens to IT planning, teams and infrastructure during an economic downturn? And how can you avoid predictable consequences?
Why You Need to Recession-Proof Your Business Information Technology Systems
What are the dangers to IT going through an economic downturn or recession?
Missed alerts, surprise expenses, emergencies from security exposure and unprotected data are all things we’ve seen creep up on businesses during hard times.
But imagine you’re already facing an economic downturn, and suddenly there’s a break-in at your location. On top of that, one of the main servers supporting your day-to-day operations crashes, and you learn your backups haven’t been working.
This could sink a business.
While there are many economic situations you can’t fully anticipate or plan for, you can keep your IT environment in-check by staying on top of backups to ensure they’re there when you need them. Taking these precautions will help keep an IT failure from being the last straw.
You don't want something you could have planned for be the compounding issue that causes you to close your doors, such as having a cloud-based infrastructure or better backups. Take some advice from our client, Total Tool, which had the right systems in place when disaster struck.
Common IT Misses During a Recession
An economic downturn can often mean a reduction in IT staff or reduced IT spending. Either situation will cause issues to be overlooked during a recession, such as:
Backups stop being watched.
This can lead to missed errors, missed alerts and missed failed backups. We’ve seen that when businesses have let their IT people go or thinned their IT staff, things get missed. If a backup file is corrupted and unavailable, you won’t be able to recover when an emergency happens.
Regular maintenance and updates for systems are neglected.
This can lead to slow-running systems, or even unavailable applications, that can seriously impact the efficiency of your organization’s operations.
Lack of preparation for surprises.
If you have a good understanding of your future costs, and most importantly they’re known and in the plan, then they probably won’t get neglected.
Let's say a software subscription ends in November 2023. That needs to be written into next year’s plan, so it’s not a surprise or a mistake when it comes up. (Pro tip: Loffler has specialists who focus on renewals to help you stay on top of renewing contracts and subscriptions.)
Basic ability to respond becomes slow.
Assuming an economic downturn has led to a reduction in IT staff, the amount of time it would take for a regular user to get help from the IT group would be longer. Even the slightest delays in tech add up quickly and can compromise many hours of employee productivity.
Lack of innovation.
Having fewer resources for IT will always lead to missed opportunities to innovate. Technology and business are more connected now than ever, and a reduction in IT staff can negatively impact an organization’s ability to grow.
How can a business’s IT infrastructure be recession-proofed or set up to weather an economic downturn?
One method that has helped organizations stay in business and thrive during an economic downturn is IT placements. An IT placement gives you consistent, scheduled access to an engineer who is with you on a regular basis. They can be your trusted advisor. Here's how they work:
An IT placement is a tenured engineer who is able to bring in their industry experience to help advise your organization on strategy.
Let’s say you’re upgrading your wireless network. Your IT placement may have been involved in 18 in the last year, and they’ll be able to guide you to ensure it all goes well while filling in technical information about best practices. They can help you prioritize projects and handle technology escalations.
Along with the project work itself, the IT placement can help with the higher-level strategy needs of your business.
Perhaps your CIO has set the goal of consolidating vendors or scoring better on cybersecurity risks. An IT placement can step in as a trusted advisor and provide your organization with best practices, as they have the necessary knowledge from working with many other businesses.
Your IT placement is usually for 16 hours per month minimum, but it can be more.
You’ll have your placement scheduled to work with your business at a set time, maybe it’s every other Wednesday. When they arrive, you can give them a list of things to address and/or watch out for. The placement will also become familiar with your business, and they’ll get a sense for what needs their attention as people report slow systems, email alerts arise, errors are found or an upgrade is needed.
They’ll help you prioritize your IT tasks and help you avoid surprise expenses.
Many businesses that don’t have the level of in-house expertise their IT placement brings to the table will save certain types of work for the day the placement engineer can be there. By working with an IT placement, you’ll be able to ensure that your IT tasks are well managed and your business is properly taken care of.
Additionally, by helping you plan for renewals and staying on top of end-of-support lifecycles for various systems and software, IT placements make it easier for you to better maintain your IT systems.
Simply by being in close proximity to your business, your IT placement will help you maximize investments by repurposing technology in ways that make sense without increasing risk.
Could your organization benefit from IT placement?
At the end of the day, it’s important to be efficient and keep your employees productive, whether we’re headed for an economic downturn or not.
Because Loffler services all industries, we’re well positioned to help plan, avoid surprises, catch backup errors and cybersecurity alerts, keep up with basic IT hygiene and consolidate vendors regardless of what’s happening with the economy.
Contact Loffler today to learn more about IT placements.
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Nick Johnson is the Practice Manager of Professional IT Services at Loffler Companies.