Does your IT have a strong heartbeat? (Image: Flickr user Lars P.)
The start of the year is a perfect time to review some crucial aspects of your company's IT systems and services. You can make sure everything's running smoothly and be confident you're all set for the year ahead.
You might even save your company some cash too.
Broadband connections have changed a lot in the last 12 months. Faster fibre optic services are sweeping the country, and if you've not evaluated internet providers for a year or two then there's a good chance you could get a significantly faster connection at a competitive price.
If you're out of contract but are happy with your current service, give your provider a call anyway. You may be able to negotiate a discount if you sign up for a fixed term.
Think about how your web hosting has performed over the last year. Have you suffered any outages? Are you happy with the level of support you've received?
Check how close you're coming to your hosting provider's storage and download limits. It's usually easier to upgrade your package in advance, rather than waiting till you hit capacity.
Hopefully you have a great working relationship with an IT support firm you trust implicitly. But even so, it's a good idea to review your contract with them.
Is the level of cover still suitable for your company's needs? Have you invested in any new equipment or services that aren't covered? (In particular, think about any cloud computing services you might have started using recently.)
Now is a great time to make sure you have an accurate record of all the IT hardware and software in your business. Use a service like Spiceworks (available free) to generate an inventory automatically.
You may uncover underused hardware, or identify gaps in your provision that could be filled by a 'bring your own device' scheme.
Does your company still have a bunch of physical landlines running into its premises, and an old-fashioned switchboard on site? If so, switching to a system which routes your calls over the internet could save you a bundle. Learn more about internet telephony >>
In any case, you may want to consider whether unified communications can help you deliver better service and stay in touch more effectively.