Think about the person with the messiest office space in your company. I bet within minutes he/she can find anything you ask him to, but could you? What about your sales manager? She might have an iPad, iPhone, Chromebook, and business laptop, where are her latest files, most recent contacts, or notes on pending contracts? I bet if asked, she’ll provide it in seconds, but can you? As a business owner, it’s our job to control the data in our company, we should know where it is, how to access it, and who controls it.
Yes, I’m speaking to you; the small business owner, the church pastor, the CPA, the small medical practitioner, or consultant. My friends make fun of me because I’m so anti-apple it’s almost not funny but as an IT guy and small business owner, I want to know I own the most important thing in my business, my information. The question is, do you own your data? Do you know where you files are, your emails, your contacts? I bet you know where you contacts are on your phone, but what about your CFO’s, assistant’s, or business partner’s data?
The era of terminals connected to servers is no more, now we’re in the BYOD (bring your own device) and BYOP (bring your own platform) era. Network servers have moved to the cloud, gmail, outlook.com, and yahoo have taken over. Apps are replacing network software, and file servers are being replaced by the likes of dropbox and google docs. There is major problem with this and you need to be brought aware of it. The nice thing is that we as small business owners no longer need to provide technology to our employees, they almost always have their own, which is great, right?
If your employees are using @gmail.com, @hotmail.com, @AnythingThatIsntYours.com or if they have personal phones and tablets or laptops, be very careful on what is going on. If they have 3000 contacts on their phone and leave, without proper management, you have lost those contacts. If they are using their @gmail.com email address to access and share contacts or documents, you don’t own that data, your employee does. Here so questions you need to ask about your data:
- Where are your files and notes stored? Most business’ have server or shared drive, but most employees want access all the time so they store their files on their desktop or in a cloud folder such as google docs or dropbox. While these services are convenient for the employee, they carry an equivalent burden on the employer because no information control has been lost. On simple terms, what about a contract that’s misplaced, or a document template that doesn’t get updated. There are too many risks associated to not have centralized management of your data. Every employee should be accessing and sharing for the same file repository. Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft SharePoint, and Windows Server 2012 R2 make this very possible with little headache.
- Where are contacts and calendar appointments stored? While android and Iphone are dominating the market, they require accounts that typically aren’t managed by your company, and worst, they have their own address books, calendars, and email. This information is not managed or even owned by an employer. When you use a service like Microsoft Office 365 or Microsoft Exchange 2013 you own the data associated to your employees’ communication in your company. Office 365 and Exchange support email (branded with your domain), shared calendars, shared contacts, shared tasks and notes, and even sites that allow you to share files.
- What is your employee using to communicate with clients? Are your employees email@example.com to email your clients? Did you know that having a custom domain that represents your business brand increases trust in your clients? Also, when you have your own domain and email, when an employee leaves your company, you maintain control of those communications which is very important for client retention and trust.
- How are your employees accessing business information? With everything being mobile and apps being the king of “productivity’ right now, I really wonder how productive they are. What I have noticed is that most apps are local to the device, don’t promote team collaboration, and aren’t easily transferred between devices. Some apps even lose all their content if the device is broken because they don’t store their data in the cloud. What about accounting, documents, spreadsheets, engineering documents, etc. As a business owner, how do we allow apps but maintain control of our data. With services like Office 365 you gain 5 copies of Office for each employee to use on their laptop, desktop, tablet, and phone, all their data is stored in the cloud and shared with other individuals in the company who have permission to access them. Even cooler, you can use a Windows Server 2012 R2 Remote Desktop or Workplace environment to share full version of office, QuickBooks, and other business apps with any employee anywhere on virtually any platform.
What is my next step? Contact West Networks to get a free cost analysis on your business. Learn how the technology will help your business weed out technical issues so you can focus on growth, customers, and what you’re good at!