Investing in small business IT support services and hardware is always a good idea, but it can be an especially smart tactic at the end of the year. Now is your last chance to increase expenditures and tax-deductible purchases before we close the books on 2017. Here are the most important IT fixed assets to consider.
With the year drawing to a close, many small business owners are looking for ways to reduce their taxable income and increase deductions. Investing in small business IT support services and hardware are good ways to achieve your tax strategy while also keeping your company secure.
Evaluating the following three critical components is strongly recommended:
1. Your Firewall
A firewall is a vital component of your network security infrastructure. It monitors all traffic that enters or leaves your network and is configured to block dangerous traffic.
Technology evolves quickly, and new and improved firewall models regularly hit the market, providing true business value. Cyber crime is on the rise in St. Louis and beyond. Digital fraudsters work tirelessly to launch new attacks and outsmart cyber protection tools. Keeping up-to-date with advancements in cyber security is a way of staying a step ahead of cyber criminals. Plan to replace your firewall every four to six years.
Higher-end firewalls have other benefits for St. Louis businesses, like centralized cloud-based management features, advanced security options, internet content filtering, and granular reporting capabilities. They allow small businesses to easily analyze their traffic and spot ways to improve network speed and reduce risks. For example, you’d be able to see if an employee spends too much time on YouTube watching videos that eat up bandwidth. You could also block sites with a few clicks.
Contrary to a common misconception, a firewall is not a “set it and forget it” piece of equipment. If you don’t have the time or knowledge in-house, your business needs a St. Louis IT services partner to help monitor your firewall. If you have a higher-end model, it will likely handle updates automatically, otherwise this must be done manually.
2. Your Server
The term “server” refers to the software used for processing requests and delivering data across your network and the internet and to the physical device that runs the server software. A server should not be an old PC running in the corner of your office.
Servers are categorized by the type of service they provide. For example, web servers facilitate client computers’ web browsing and other web-based activity. A general-purpose server typically supports file serving, email, databases, and anything else your business needs to function properly. Large businesses utilize multiple servers, whereas many small businesses can get by with one. It all depends on the number of users, devices, volume of requests, and data you are processing.
Servers improve network performance and reliability, make it easier to share and store data, and increase network security. Servers can also be cloud-based. In this model, you don’t own the server or keep it on-site; instead, you access a remote instance that is owned and managed by a server company.
If your small business has ten computers or more, it may benefit from installing a server, but consider having an IT services provider perform a network security audit to evaluate your infrastructure first.
3. Your Data Backup Solution
Data is a small word with big meaning. It encompasses everything from client contact information to credit card numbers to proprietary files. Your server helps team members share data among themselves more easily, but the role backups play in protecting that data—from cyber crime, human error, natural disaster, and plain bad luck—is just as important.
As the year draws to a close, take a moment to examine and test your approach to backing up and recovering data. Are you storing files onsite, in the cloud, or both? (We recommend both for maximum protection.) How often are you running the backups? How easy is it to retrieve your files? A managed IT services provider can help you run this assessment.
Investing in your network security is more than just a way to garner tax savings. Currently 58 percent of small businesses are not prepared for data loss, but that is changing fast. According to an infographic by Clutch, 78 percent of small businesses will be backing up their data in the cloud by 2020. Don’t be one of the 22 percent who wait three years to start protecting your business. Data backup and recovery is one of the most important small business IT support services you should employ.
Anderson Technologies is a St. Louis IT services provider with a track record of protecting small businesses like yours. We work with our managed IT services clients to help them design the most effective and secure IT infrastructure for their business. If you are ready to update your network, we can help with every step of the process, from analyzing your existing infrastructure to researching and purchasing the best equipment for your needs. For more information on our St. Louis IT services, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 314.394.3001 today.