The Hidden Expenses of Small Business IT

Every small business owner knows the common costs associated with their technology and infrastructure. The predictable and easily quantified costs such as internet service, software licensing, website hosting, and hardware like computers and servers that are necessary for daily operations. What small businesses might not know is that there are potential hidden expenses if your IT infrastructure is mismanaged.

Time is a finite resource. Our goal at The Purple Guys is to give small businesses their time back. We take the burden of IT management and support off managers, administrators, and owners so that they can focus on serving clients and growing the business.  One of the biggest hidden expenses that people don’t think about is their lost time and the value that it holds.

It is very common for small businesses to have a DIY approach to technology. And we understand why. When growing a business, owners look to improve margins however they can. And if they have a few tech savvy individuals on payroll, or if the owner knows enough to be dangerous, then why not save the money and let those employees handle IT support and management? The short answer is because this approach can hinder business growth.

A marketing director spending 3 hours troubleshooting a printer or the owner of an accounting firm sitting on hold with their software vendor is incredibly costly to a small business. Every minute a non-IT employee is doing IT related work, it costs businesses twice. Once to pay them for the IT work they are doing and again for the loss of productivity in their actual job role.

Instead of dealing with IT issues, employees should be helping a customer, making a sale, or handling other, arguably more important aspects of the business. And since non-IT staff aren’t tech experts, a task that would take an experienced IT technician minutes, might take an office administrator hours.  It might seem that businesses are saving money with a DIY approach to IT, but hidden expenses could be costing more in the long run.

Lost time isn’t the only hidden IT expense. Let’s look at some of the other common costs associated with mismanaged technology:

Downtime is one of the costliest IT related issues and can stem from a wide variety of sources. Especially if technology is not properly managed. Some of the biggest perpetrators of downtime include:

Unplanned or unexpected software updates – When your software patching is not managed, technical issues or Windows updates seem to pop up at the worst possible time. Usually when facing a deadline or right before an important meeting. This can be easily avoided by implementing a patch management schedule.
Hardware failure – Not tracking the lifecycle and warranty status of devices can not only cause downtime but can disrupt a budget with surprise replacement costs. Device and warranty management systems can help businesses avoid interruptions and simplify IT budgeting.
Cybersecurity Events like data breaches or ransomware attacks – Successful cybersecurity events are one of the most common and most serious causes of downtime. Businesses that don’t implement a well-rounded cybersecurity plan are exposing themselves to significant downtime.

Cybersecurity events have more consequences than just downtime. A successful cybersecurity attack can cost businesses in a variety of ways. Legal fees, increased insurance premiums, as well as their reputation with their customers. It is very difficult for a small business to retain clients that are directly impacted by a security event. Protecting customers and their data should be seen by business owners as equally as important as protecting their own. This is especially relevant in legal, professional services, and other industries that are heavily regulated.

It can be difficult for a business to truly understand the extent of technical inefficiency that exists in daily operations. Business owners often overlook how common it is for employees to have a “just live with it” mindset about a slow computer or constantly crashing software. Or worse, they have developed a workaround or band-aid fix that allows them to do a task at the cost of extra steps. A minute here or there might not seem like a real problem, but those minutes add up and can be a real drain on productivity. Giving employees access to dedicated IT support staff can resolve daily issues and inefficiencies while improving productivity.

How to find and eliminate hidden IT expenses –

A proactive methodology is crucial to eliminating the common causes of hidden IT costs. It is critical for business owners to dedicate time and resources to properly managing their organization’s technology infrastructure.  Quick and helpful technical support resources, a well-rounded cybersecurity plan, and regular assessment and maintenance of your technology can decrease cost, mitigate risk, and provide businesses the time to focus on their own success and growth. If you are looking for a dedicated IT team that can provide all these services, we encourage you to reach out to us today.

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