No tech budget means surprising costs

This article was originally written for ArrowQuick Solutions, a technology consultancy for small businesses.

Posted on April 27, 2011

Wouldn’t it be nice if everything worked perfectly and never broke? Unfortunately, humans make mistakes, and the second law of thermodynamics has a bit to say about perpetual motion. So, software has bugs, computers break down, and inevitably they need to be fixed.

This is why you need to have money set aside in your operational budget for IT. If you spend money on maintaining your computers and servers, then it’s less likely they will have a major failure. It’s like insurance — spend a few dollars this month to avoid having to pay a lot of money later on.

No Maintenance Leads to Broken Tech

Here’s an example: This month we’ve been upgrading our hosting servers to the latest software. For the companies who have been keeping their websites somewhat up-to-date, the change has been transparent. But some people haven’t updated their sites in years. Predictably, their sites broke after the upgrade. (We haven’t exactly been on the cutting edge of technology; the changes involve upgrading to software that came out in 2005.)

Computer technology is one of the fastest-moving industries in the world. The wishful thinking that “it will always work” is dangerous when your business relies on it working. Waiting until something breaks will result in bigger costs to get it fixed and a bigger disruption to your business.

Would you drive your car for years without oil changes or basic maintenance? You might get lucky and nothing will ever go wrong. But it’s more likely that everything is slowly wearing out. Don’t be surprised if one day the engine falls out when you’re driving. ;)

What To Do

There are at least 3 areas that you should be investing in:

  • Your IT department or agents should be keeping your workplace computers updated.
  • Your hosting provider is responsible for keeping your servers up-to-date and running.
  • Your webmaster should be updating your website and its software.

If you are not paying for regular maintenance in any of these — or at least having a regular evaluation — then it’s only a matter of time before it will stop working.


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