The Simple Formula for a Successful IT System


Success of your IT systems is often complicated by challenges such as time constraints, the undervaluing of IT, office politics, and budget limitations which often makes it difficult to see a way forward. However, achieving a robust and effective IT system doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. As The Virtual IT Director, my approach is straightforward:

Make Secure, Reduce Costs, Enable Growth.

This simple formula is designed to cut through the jargon and deliver practical, actionable advice for businesses looking to optimise their IT infrastructure, applications and telephony.

1. Make Secure

At the top of the list is cyber security. The foundation of a secure IT system for me always starts with data backup. Ensuring that all your data is backed up (and tested) means you can confidently recover from ransomware attacks, hardware failures, accidental deletions, or any malicious act. Once you have a solid backup strategy, focus on the following:

  • Stronger Passwords and MFA: Implement passphrases and multi-factor authentication (MFA) on all systems. Done correctly, these measures should not disrupt day-to-day operations for any users.
  • Software Support and Updates: Ensure that all your software is supported and regularly updated. This means having someone to contact for issues and continuously receiving security updates.
  • Anti-Virus and Endpoint Visibility: Install antivirus software on every computer and maintain visibility of every endpoint. This ensures you can manage and secure all devices effectively.

Cyber security is an ongoing process with numerous facets beyond what I mention above. The priorities listed are the starting points—the absolute bare essentials. Once these are addressed, your cyber security strategy should evolve continuously, adapting to new threats and integrating additional layers of protection.

2. Reduce Costs

Periodic cost reviews are essential. Organise periodic meetings with an IT expert (preferably a neutral party like a virtual IT director), someone from the accounts team, and a director. Review all IT-related expenses, including:

  • CapEx: Assess both past and upcoming expenditure.
  • OpEx: Examine recurring costs and unexpected one-off expenses.
  • Contract Management: Check renewal dates and notice periods for all contracts. This allows you to explore better options in the marketplace when the time is optimal.
  • Subscription Audits: Review all software subscriptions to ensure you’re not paying for unused services.

By scrutinising these areas, you’ll highly likely uncover savings without compromising your IT systems. The time spent on this exercise will yield cost reductions that go straight to your bottom line.

3. Enable Growth

With a secure and cost-effective IT foundation from steps 1 and 2, you’re now in an excellent position to think strategically about enabling your growth. Consider the following:

  • Strategic Alignment: Align your IT plans with your business objectives to create a robust, scalable platform for future growth.
  • Workflow Automation: Examine existing workflows and identify steps that can be automated to improve efficiency.
  • Data – Examine all of your data and remove any unnecessary. Most importantly, this will with aid better decision making in the business but it will also reduce costs (it will!) and help you identify and protect any PII you hold.
  • Market Exploration: Stay informed about new technologies and solutions that can drive your business forward.

Without these steps, you risk incurring unexpected expenses, and exposing your business to cyber threats. Moreover, without a strategic approach, the costs of new initiatives, like implementing new accounting software, can become mind-blowing (or rather, cost-prohibitive). These steps are about preparing your business for future success. Whether you aim to grow your business or plan to sell it in the coming years, establishing a solid IT foundation is crucial.

Remember the simple formula: Make Secure, Reduce Costs, Enable Growth. By following this straightforward approach, you have a way to navigate the complexities of IT with confidence and ensure that your business is well-positioned for the future.

If you would like to know more, get in touch on 01924 926 400 or e-mail

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