The average IT budget is on the rise, as 39% of European businesses plan to increase tech spending in 2020. Furthermore, 1 in 4 large businesses are doing this in response to some internet security incident. Clearly there’s a need to protect your data, but can you do it affordably? As businesses pivot and are forced accelerate their digital transformation, can the new forms of productivity and secure remote work be achieved with cinched budgets?

The answer is absolutely yes. Yet in a constantly changing marketplace, many business owners find IT confusing and often overspend. Clearly not all of the nearly £3 trillion the world’s businesses spent collectively in 2019 on IT is needed. So, how can you save money on your IT budget this year?

Minimise your IT budget without sacrificing security: How to save on technology

Here are just six ways you can keep your IT budget down without leaving your business open to vulnerabilities. IT spending should yield greater productivity and therefore better profits. If you shudder at the thought of spending on IT, then you might be going about it all wrong.

Analyse your needs

Before you make any IT purchases, you need to stop and ask yourself what your company really needs. Remember to distinguish between needs and wants. Some workers might complain about slow connectivity, but do their workloads justify additional speed? Have they been provisioned correctly? Overprovisioning, on the other hand, causes inflated cloud bills with no tangible benefit.

Likewise, if you are considering a switch to cloud computing or increasing your cloud data storage, bandwidth, or server capacity, ask yourself if you really need it. Is it a part of your IT roadmap? Considering scalable solutions means you don’t spend on what you don’t use. Considering seasonality, growth trajectories and planning out your needs gives you time to compare prices and perhaps wait for better deals. What would happen if your business grew by acquisition, or if you were acquired? Consider how tied down you are.

If the expenses are truly justified, and the investment is aligned with wider business objectives, then you need to consider implementation, which brings us to the second point.

Enterprise solutions

Very few businesses today can justify investments into CPUs and hardware, with even large enterprises adopting a cloud-first strategy. Trends have shifted such that it is possible for large enterprises as well as small and medium sized enterprises to run on the same platforms, and to leverage the same solutions, security features, collaboration apps and more.

A key area for saving is cloud collaboration. Something as simple as upgrading from Office 365 to Microsoft 365 could yield significant savings for your business. By assessing your current licensing, and how the licensing is utilised across the business, it is not uncommon to find that the upgrade could actually save you money. In addition to the thousands, sometimes tens if not hundreds of thousands saved in licensing costs, you get access to features that help you streamline security operations within your business. Having a licensing assessment is the first step, and we can help you with this.

With evergreen IT emerging, organisations are finally able to invest with the confidence that it will not be necessary to upgrade or re-platform in a few years. A long-term strategy is now possible, and IT moves into ‘always up-to-date’, be it on-premise or public cloud, powered by automation.

For this reason, focus on your business first: your strategy and your objectives. By working with experts, you can then find the technologies and services that are aligned and able to support you in driving your strategy. It is possible to attain enterprise-grade technologies even if you are a small business.

Don’t be afraid to share your vision and your strategy with your service provider, and don’t automatically think that you have to look after everything yourself, build your own servers and avoid enterprise solutions. The reality is that the cheapest solution is quite the opposite.

Out with the old, in with the new. What is new anyway?

Upgrades are exciting. If you’re an IT department. But what is even more exciting, is when an upgrade doesn’t involve lengthy business disruptions and shifting timelines on an upgrade roadmap which never quite seems to be complete.

With evergreen IT, the skill sets required are radically shifting to bring IT closer to the business – to really understand what the objectives are, and how the long term strategy can be driven through IT decisions. It only happens to be that cloud computing and operating systems such as Azure and Microsoft 365, along with virtualisation, PaaS, can offer significantly cheaper options (PaaS typically coming out 25% cheaper than IaaS). It is clear that products are changing faster than is possible to keep up with, as are therefore the methodologies behind managing IT. The expectations on IT, and IT services are shifting radically.

Prevent breaches, safeguard your data

We hear it time and again; data is the new oil. Businesses are targets of attacks for their data, and a typical cyber attack can be ruinously expensive. Globally, the average cost of a data breach is $4m, Breaches do have the power to ruin a business. Cyber insurance alone will not cover you if you have not taken adequate steps to protect your business.

Fortunately, while the misconceptions around cybersecurity threats are many – (Did you know for example, that email remains the most common form of attack? Doesn’t sound very sophisticated, does it?) – however, effective cybersecurity doesn’t have to break the bank, or disrupt your business-as-usual.

We offer comprehensive cybersecurity assessments and full consultations that review your business infrastructure as a whole and identify risks, and come up with solutions to fix the issues. These solutions can be as in-depth as you wish, as we have put together a comprehensive toolkit, available at a simple cost-per-head.

However, your biggest vulnerability when it comes to security is your staff. Speaking of whom, the next tip is to consider how you hire.

Reconsider full time skills

IT employees are expensive, and they hold the keys to your kingdom. Of course, most medium and large enterprises need full-time IT staff who can respond to issues at a moment’s notice. But for smaller businesses, you may want to reconsider.

Many of the IT needs a small business has can be handled by local service providers when needed. Hiring a technician to come out once in a while is much more affordable than paying someone a salary all year. As products and solutions are virtualised, so are skills, which enables smaller businesses to access skills which they would otherwise not have been able to hire or develop in-house at enough pace.

What’s more important for your business is strategic guidance in the IT world. You need an IT roadmap and people who can understand your business and tailor-make a plan to help it grow with tried and tested methodologies and plans. An external person may offer an entirely new, unbiased viewpoint, especially if they have experience from within your sector.

Managed service providers

Enter the managed service provider, or MSP. MSPs can provide IT services for your business in lieu of a traditional in-house IT department. Perhaps the biggest advantage of having an MSP is that you get an entire team of knowledgeable people whose breadth of experience means new, novel ideas for your business.

Not only can MSPs help you develop your IT strategy, but they can also check your security and even help you reduce your budget. Expect to see smart solutions around both licensing and cloud provisioning in our forthcoming IT cost optimisation checklist. Stay tuned or get in touch now for your own customised plan!

Get a professional’s advice

Whether you need to upgrade your office or are planning for the future, call Atech if you have any questions. Our staff can analyse your situation, determine the perfect course of action for your company, and keep you within your budget. We’ll always get you exactly what you need, and we are addicted to service.

As businesses accelerate their digital transformation, building resilience, securing remote work and reimagining productivity does not have to increase your costs. In this article, we share the basics of optimising your IT budget. Talk to us and we can uncover potential savings for you with an assessment tailored for your performance objectives.