1. Use the cloud
You don’t need your own servers or data centre to set up a really robust IT system: these days, a lot of business apps and tools run in the cloud, so all you need to use them is a networked laptop or mobile device.
2. Pick the right tools
What are the main things you need your IT system to do? For example, does it need to help you sell online, run basic accounting apps, or help your team stay in touch with each other? Choose tools that will meet these needs. And if budget’s an issue, decide what’s most important to you and invest in that first.
3. Train your team
To get the most out of your IT tools, your team need to know how to use them effectively. So give new staff some basic IT training; most cloud-based apps have great online tutorials to get them started. When you recruit, it’s also worth checking if people are familiar with the systems you use.
4. Have a disaster recovery plan
A major IT failure could stop your business running for hours or even days. Think about what could go wrong – from losing your data, to a serious security breach. Develop and test a plan to deal with each risk: you don’t want to wait until something goes wrong, to realise your plan doesn’t work or is missing some steps.
5. Make sure your system is secure
Security is a critical part of IT – both to protect your data and that of your customers, and to defend yourself from ransomware attacks. Install up-to-date security software, a robust antivirus programme and run regular penetration tests. Also educate your team about cybersecurity; phishing, for example, is a common threat you can avoid if your staff follow simple, common-sense tips.
6. Keep your IT up to date
Always keep an eye on your software licences and apply any new patches and updates. As well as gaining access to new features and staying compliant with tax and other regulations, it helps to ensure that your licenses and vendor support are up to date and that your systems are secure.