Growing pains are good for business

Johannesburg - Small businesses often don't have the resources or inclination to track the latest tech trends or security threats.

As a result, they make many mistakes because not all business owners are adept at maintaining best technology practices.

From and IT perspective, scaling a business can also be more difficult than the start-up phase. Suddenly there are more users and more data to manage and things can very quickly feel like they’re out of control if there are no proper systems implemented.

All of a sudden one needs new infrastructure to store the new user data and process it efficiently. The company Google shared drive or free trial Dropbox account is no longer sufficient. This is a clear sign that the business entered the next phase of growth - and definitely a challenging phase.

Growing pains are a good problem to have and this is something every small business faces sooner or later. For a business to continue to grow and thrive, it is crucial to recognise and overcome the common pitfalls associated with growth. One must ensure that the steps taken today don't themselves create additional problems for the future.

Most small business owners consider the costs of maintaining and upgrading technology as their most significant challenge. They also feel that their IT budget doesn’t give them access to the same technology tools as their larger counterparts.

Alto Africa CEO Justin Trent is a huge fan of free solutions but he says there comes a time in every business’s maturity cycle where free solutions just don’t provide the functionality that is required. "Security is generally the biggest area where free systems fall short as they are generally designed for a single user as opposed to a company with multiple users."

"The choices you make now will dramatically affect performance, cost, security, integration, ease-of-use, compatibility, speed to market and many other business variables related to IT," he explains.

Trent has engaged with hundreds of small businesses, he points to typical issues they encounter:

·                     Unsure whether data is backed up and retrievable in the case of data loss
·                     Unsure who has access to company data
·                     Concerned that data is spread across Dropbox and external drives
·                     Concerned that emails aren’t backed up
·                     Unsure whether all laptops and PC's have the latest security updates
·                     Unsure whether the server is outdated
·                     Uneasy that IT costs and support services are so unpredicible

He says there is nothing wrong with these problems. "In fact, it’s the norm and this is exactly where we love to step in and lend a helping hand. What we do is help companies take that next step in their IT maturity by introducing a scalable, secure and cost effective solution called Cloudbox."

Cloudbox is an all-in-one IT solution in a box for small businesses. This cloud-based all-inclusive IT offering is specifically designed for businesses wanting to grow.

It offers affordable installation, maintenance and support costs payable at a fixed rate per month, giving small business owners the freedom to focus on their business instead of worrying about IT issues. The solution incorporates email, email backups, file sharing, computer backups, antivirus and communication into one simple package to take the complexity out of IT.

"One solution and one company to deal with for all IT requirements - makes growing up that much easier," he concludes.

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