5 things you probably don’t know about cloud-based ERP (but should)

Cloud-based computing services have become ubiquitous in the business IT environment. From critical infrastructure and communication platforms to collaboration applications, cloud solutions are quickly overtaking traditional on-premise solutions. Despite the increased acceptance of cloud services, ERP is making the shift at a slower rate, despite sharing a number of similarities with the cloud computing philosophy.

Research and advisory firm IDC estimates that 70% of companies’ core applications currently run on-premises or in co-location facilities. But Statista forecasts the cloud ERP market at $28.8 billion by 2022, with just 8% compound annual growth since 2016. In fact, surveys from other research firms indicate a majority of corporate teams expect a focus on off-premise cloud technology in 2020.

An ERP system is designed to manage and automate core operational activity on a single integrated software platform, from product planning and development to sales and marketing. Businesses benefit greatly when they have central access to shared data with a single application and user interface. Cloud-based ERP solutions extend these benefits into new territory with hybrid environments and dedicated cloud-based models.

Let’s look at five things you should know about cloud-based ERP so your business can take advantage of the best in modern enterprise technology.

1. Cloud-based ERP software is accessible and affordable

While ERP has long been associated with enterprise organizations and even specific industries, the cost benefits and operational advantages of integrated software now more widely available because of the cloud computing model. From health care and hospitality through to transportation and financial services, businesses of all sizes can benefit from cloud-based ERP solutions.

The ability to share operational resources offers increased cost advantages to anyone who relies on integration of multiple databases and software applications.

2. Cloud-based ERP increases flexibility

Despite the benefits of an integrated approach, on-site ERP solutions can create problems when business needs, processes or demands change. Instead of getting tied down by complex, expensive hardware and software, more businesses are migrating to a cloud setup.

Cloud-based ERP solutions are capable of enabling much greater organizational flexibility to adopt, adapt, and maintain key services quickly and efficiently.

3. Cloud-based ERP improves scalability

Cloud-based ERP solutions are much more scalable than comparable onsite solutions. Along with avoiding many of the upfront costs associated with computing infrastructure, cloud services allow you to update your commitments and scope as you grow and evolve. This is a particular advantage to small and medium businesses who don’t have access to unlimited capital.

By avoiding expensive hardware costs and restrictive software licenses, you can budget more effectively and focus your efforts on running your business. Having the ability to scale resources up or down according to seasonal, operational and market demand is a major advantage to any business.

4. Cloud-based ERP enhances agility

Agility, or the ability to operate and adapt quickly, is a crucial aspect of cloud computing. Rather than relying on slow infrastructure and outdated technology, cloud-based ERP gives you the speed and power of a much larger organization. The opportunity to adopt software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), or infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solutions with the latest technology advances increases agility across industry sectors.

If you need to expand your capabilities, the added capability to develop, test, and launch software applications quickly is integral to business growth.

5. Cloud-based ERP ensures security

Cloud-based ERP ensures privacy, data security, and compliance in the case of data or network disruption. Whether it’s a cyberattack, a natural disaster, or human error, cloud-based ERP ensures the safety of your data at all times. According to a study by TechnoUSA, 94 percent of all businesses think their security is improved due to cloud services.

Regular backup services are integrated into ERP solutions, along with other important security features like multi-factor authentication, multiple data centers, geographically decentralized infrastructure, regular hardware maintenance, and a comprehensive disaster recovery plan.

Working with an IT partner like AppSolute that experienced in ERP is the best way to ensure the successful implementation, customization, and maintenance of a cloud-based ERP system.

Maximize your financial investment with managed IT services

More and more small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are discovering the enormous benefits that come from outsourcing. Technology makes this possible in ways never before feasible. For some SMBs, though, outsourcing IT services may be a new concept. When you find the right managed service provider (MSP) to provide the IT services that best fit your organization’s needs, you will see improvements across the board.

From improved security and expanded resources to reduced costs and downtime – opportunities abound to maximize your return on investment (ROI) with a managed service provider.

Improved security

In its 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report, Verizon concluded that 58% of all cyber attacks target small businesses. With an MSP monitoring your network and managing your cybersecurity, you can feel confident your business is fully protected. MSPs take care of keeping all systems and software up to date and patched. They also proactively safeguard your business by assessing your system for vulnerabilities and taking the time to address any concerns.

With an MSP on your team, you can rest easy knowing that the job of defending your data and business operations is in good hands. Many MSPs offer backup and data security options that are scalable, depending on the size of your business and needs. They may even offer assistance with business continuity and disaster recovery planning.

Related reading: The critical elements of a disaster recovery plan

Access to resources

One of the outstanding and sometimes overlooked benefits of partnering with an MSP is access to a wealth of specialized knowledge and expert resources. Many MSPs offer consulting services and other options to share their considerable combined knowledge to support their clients’ technology requirements. Whether you need advice on purchasing a new computer or handling a potential data breach, when you sign with an MSP you gain a whole team of experts to rely on.

Related reading: How to get the most from a managed service provider

Reduced costs

It might seem too good to be true. A whole team of experts, and it’s supposed to save you money, too? It’s true, though. Let’s break it down. If you manage your own IT services on-site, you have to pay for IT staff, servers, equipment, and the cost to maintain the equipment. If you choose to outsource your IT services with an MSP, you pay a monthly fee. You do not need to hire extra staff or purchase and maintain expensive servers.

As your business grows or your needs change you can make changes in your contract with the MSP, and your monthly rate will be adjusted accordingly.

Related reading: Common technology problems solved by an MSP

Reduced downtime

There are few things more frustrating and stressful than dealing with regular bouts of downtime, especially when you are trying to run a business. With so much of day-to-day operations relying on technology and the web, every minute of downtime is costing you money. If downtime has been an issue, a managed service provider can help to address this right away without ever interfering with your operations.

They can identify network and system bottlenecks and upgrade and patch software and hardware, all while you continue mission-critical work.

Overall, smaller organizations can maximize their investment with a managed services provider by taking advantage of the expertise, efficiencies, and gains in extending your team and optimizing business technology.

What are the 5 most compelling reasons for managed IT services?

What is it about managed IT services that make them so appealing to businesses?

For starters, they allow businesses to shed the tedious (and challenging) task of managing technology and put it in the hands of experts. Many companies are already working with a “reactive” IT provider to some degree – that is, someone who been coming in to fix things only after they’ve broken.

But managed IT services changes the break/fix dynamic by putting proactive care of technology first.

It’s a win-win for both customers and IT service providers alike. IT service providers get to build partnerships that help them grow and sustain their business. Similarly, business owners get to unlock multiple benefits that they’d otherwise never get.

Let’s take a look at 5 of those benefits.

1. Reduced costs

Here’s a core business truth – broken technology quickly racks up a hefty bill. Managed services give you access to a team of IT experts whenever you need them for a flat monthly rate. The costs are far less than an in-house team with similar experience or a break-fix provider that charges by the hour.

2. Improved security

It’s not always about keeping things operational. Managed service providers also take great care to keep both your hardware and your software secure from dangerous cyberthreats that could cost you dearly.

The average cost of a single cyberattack sits around $5 million, with $1.25 million – a quarter of the total – attributed to system downtime and another $1.5 million (30%) to IT and end-user productivity loss.

3. Expedited growth

Partnering with a managed service provider gives you access to tools that enable better growth and scalability. Having a technology partner that understands your business lets you gain a CIO that can roadmap and plan your technology to support your growth with ample documentation along the way.

Helpful: 5 Server Maintenance Tips and Tricks to Better Support Your Business

4. Expert collaboration

Many organizations assume that outsourced IT providers “take over” everything IT. In reality, that’s not always the case. Managed services agreements are built to customize offerings to the unique needs of each company.

“Co-managed IT services can provide businesses with a broad range of experience and deep bench of experts beyond that of the existing in-house staff.” – The Business Journals

Of course, while that can mean taking over every aspect of IT, it can also mean working with an established in-house team to complete projects and upgrades together.

5. Functional technology

There’s little worse than subjecting your staff to the tortures of working with old and outdated hardware. Managed service partners ensure that your office is using technology that fits within your budget … while being conducive to a productive and functional environment … and not one that incites rage.

Related: Common Technology Problems Solved By an MSP

Finding the right IT partner

Locating the right partner doesn’t have to be hard. It’s simply a matter of talking to a managed service provider and seeing how they can help you run your business better.

Of course, before you go seeking all the IT people in the Tri-State Area, you could always give us a shot. We can help you turn your technology into a powerful asset for your business growth.

Looking for more to read? Check out the 6 IT Best Practices for Your Business.

Scalability and flexibility with ERP solutions

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is a miracle of the modern workplace. In essence, it unites your company’s accounting, human resources, product development, manufacturing, marketing and other departments. It lets those divisions instantly share, store, organize and utilize a common repository of corporate and customer information via a standard or customizable user interface.

Today’s ERP software makes it easy to make data-based decisions. With its flexible tools and powerful features, you can track employee performance, make cost projections, craft budgets, plan schedules, calculate ideal price points and figure out how many products to ship to stores, among many other crucial operational tasks.

In addition, this software can automatically generate reports and fill out paperwork, ensuring that you follow all compliance rules and requirements.

With this software, everyone can work more efficiently and accurately to deliver and share timely documentation and analysis.

Whether you prefer on-premise or cloud-based ERP, if you choose the right vendor, you’ll have excellent onsite support whenever you need it.

If you’re in the market for ERP software, you’ll probably want a platform with these features.

1. Learning capabilities

When your ERP software has machine learning capabilities, it will figure out over time how to make itself more useful to everyone.

For instance, if your ERP program realizes that your accountants often seek a certain data point, it might display that number as soon as it’s updated without being asked. It can also identify and recommend best next actions based on expert user activity and recurring processes.

2. Complete mobility

No matter where your staff members are, they should be able to safely access your ERP interface. And it ought to be user-friendly for all smartphones and tablets.

With secure mobile access to your corporate systems, your sales reps and other employees can enter pertinent updates and statistics from customer meetings, conferences, hotel rooms, flights and remote offices.

3. Customization

It should be simple for you and your team to customize your ERP solutions. As soon as you log in, you should see the charts and tools you need in your user portal. Meanwhile, items you rarely or never use can remain hidden, along with data restricted to other users or departments.

Simply put, if your ERP can adjust to accommodate the needs of each role and department, your team will perform their unique duties more effectively.

4. Social media integration

Just about every company relies on social media platforms for marketing and even customer interaction and feedback. As such, it’s helpful if your ERP software automates and streamlines your social media programs and activity to ensure consistency, compliance, and collaboration.

With the right process in place, each department can even use the interface to submit photos, videos and messages for sharing approved content.

Furthermore, your ERP analytics can tell you which posts get the most response and even evaluate the responses for more insightful decision-making. That way, you can keep posting the best kind of content for your audience and your company.

5. Scalability

Whenever you see an influx of new customers, you want to know the cause and the effect. It might happen because your business appears on the news or a major website, or because you introduce a hot new product. Whatever the reason, it’s vital to have ERP software that not only adjusts to meet changes in demand but also helps you make the appropriate adjustments in the relevant areas of your business.

That is, your ERP program should be capable of processing as much new data as your company feeds it. And you must be able to add as many new users and mobile devices as necessary. If your ERP can’t handle a sudden flood of info, you’ll have to buy and implement new software, an expensive and time-wasting prospect.

With the right enterprise resource planning solution, your operations will remain flexible as you grow. Similarly, you’ll always be responsive to market changes and trends, since your ERP will help you make choices based on customer preferences. With adaptability so often comes prosperity

The key to growing your business you might be missing

If you’re a small business owner focused on growth, you’re already invested in marketing and scaling up your ability to deliver goods and services. One thing you might be overlooking, though, is a software-based tool that can support your company’s growth through data collection, sharing and workflow automation. This tool is known as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, and it’s so important to modern businesses that the market share for ERP software is expected to grow to $49 billion by the year 2024. Here’s what you need to know about modern ERP solutions and how they can help your business grow.

What is enterprise resource planning?

Put simply, ERP systems are software solutions that bring processes from many different parts of a business operation together under a single roof. ERP solutions can be used to manage everything from finance and accounting to customer relations and product distribution. Tying these different departments together through a unified software solution allows for easier data collection and sharing between departments. All this leads to making your business more efficient and productive.

Keep your business growing

One of the most important advantages of implementing a modern ERP software in your business comes in the form of improved workflow. ERPs provide for automated workflows that will take your employees through tasks in a step-by-step manner, making it less-likely for oversights to occur. In this way, your SMB can exert higher levels of quality control on its processes and spend less time correcting human errors.

A modern ERP solution can also support your company’s growth by providing you with valuable marketing insights. Thanks to their ability to collect and share data, modern ERP platforms can be used to measure the effectiveness of growth strategies such as expanding into new markets or penetrating further into existing ones.

Using operational insights produced by an ERP solution, your business can refine its marketing, adjust pricing and even develop a more complete customer profile for future targeting.

Improve customer service

Of course, the benefits of a modern ERP solution aren’t limited to the back end of your business. ERP software can support the customer-facing side of your SMB by providing improved systems for inventory control, sales and even customer relations. When your team can communicate and collaborate easily through a unified ERP platform, your customers are likely to have a much better experience and encounter fewer difficulties.  

Cloud-based ERP solutions offer strong security protections that can be managed by a third-party vendor without draining your limited resources away from more critical tasks. If you want to keep your SMB on track for sustained growth by implementing good data security and cybersecurity practices, a cloud-based ERP solution can be a useful tool.

Conclusion

From improving efficiency and use of resources on the back end to supporting your marketing efforts and customer relations on the front end, ERP software solutions can provide incredibly useful tools for driving business growth. By making it easy to collect and share data between different departments, a modern ERP system can help your company make the best use of its resources and improve the customer experience it provides.

If you want to maximize the growth of your SMB, consider having your IT staff or managed services provider implement an ERP solution that will meet the needs of your company.

How to calculate the ROI of your ERP system

If you have an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system in place or are considering implementing one, you’ve probably wondered if the investment will pay off in the long run. Today’s ERP systems are more advanced than ever when you get into the things they can do now vs. just a few years ago.

At a basic level, an ERP system integrates the various functions of a business into one complete system with the aim of streamlining business process and data across the entire organization. It accomplishes this with a shared database that supports the multiple functions used across your business. This includes inventory and asset management, ordering, accounting, human resources, customer relations, and more. It can be a massive undertaking and can incur quite a bit of investment depending on the type of business. Naturally, you’ll want to know if your return on investment (ROI) is worth it.

Before you conduct an analysis of your ROI, ask yourself if you have given your ERP enough time to provide an accurate picture of its effectiveness. Popular opinion is that you should wait at least three years before conducting such an investigation. Five years would be even better and more accurate.

If you feel that your ERP has been in place long enough to warrant a look, here are some points to consider when examining the ROI on your ERP system.

Cost

Keeping a close eye on your IT budget is an obvious place to start when determining if your ERP system is providing measurable benefits. The most evident savings is going to be in hardware and software. As your ERP is most likely cloud-based, you’re not spending money on acquiring expensive equipment and paying your IT team extra on upkeep and repair. You also aren’t going to be paying for software licenses and upgrades. All of those should be covered by your cloud service.

Another cost point to look at is how your ERP system is contributing to the efficiency of your business and employees. Hopefully, you’re paying for less overtime with an established and consistent ERP in place.

Productivity

With a consistent and central integration of your business data, your employees should be spending less time organizing your business data. While this saves on payroll, it also improves workflow by unifying the process across your entire business, saving you time and aggravation in trying to get all of the data and employees on the same page.

This also results in less of a need for oversight and enhances any compliance processes you may have and lower auditing costs.

Asset control

Initiating a new ERP system can help improve inventory control and planning, eliminate waste, and improve your procurement process. This includes having a solid view of your supply chain from start to finish.

A majority of the benefits of an ERP are going to boil down to cutting down on waste in departments across the board. Whether it’s in the warehouse or in the IT department, an efficient ERP is going to help you identify where spending can be reined in so profit remains high.

Visibility

Customers like seeing a business that operates in a consistent and efficient manner. Considering how a positive customer perception can affect sales is something else to consider when measuring the financial impact of your ERP. By shortening fulfillment times and exhibiting good quality control, your customers will become more committed to doing business with you.

How do the numbers look?

Chances are that you’re going to find the numbers are on your side. While the financial benefits may not be apparent within the first couple of years, continued usage of your ERP system should show increased profits from a combination of savings across numerous departments and in how business is conducted overall and the technology is only improving.

It takes work, some investment and time but it’s a process in which you’re going to want expert guidance. While it sounds like a lot of risk, the larger risk is not keeping up with the technology available to improve and grow your business.

How to choose the right ERP solution for your business

All businesses use technology. The most successful businesses have learned that by integrating it into their very core, they can make technology work for them in new and exciting ways. Enterprise Resource Planning, better known as ERP, is designed to manage the most important parts of your business. By using adaptable, cloud-based technology, ERP can accelerate your business, making you more efficient and competitive than ever before.

We have compiled this guide to help you choose the right ERP solution for your unique business needs.

Related reading: 5 signs you need an ERP system

Goals and processes

When you consider ERP systems it is very important to have a clear understanding of your immediate and long-term business goals. In addition to goals, consider the way your business operates. What are your needs? Where are your shortcomings? Have these things clearly in mind before you begin the process of comparing ERP systems. Each ERP system is a little bit different. It is important to choose a system that works with your existing business processes and best practices and will provide assistance where you need it most. Doing so will ensure a cohesive match and as little interruption as possible when it comes to product integration.

Compatibility

As you begin to review ERP systems, you will want to look beyond the technology itself. Consider systems and software you already have and use on a daily basis. Is the ERP compatible with these systems and programs? If not, are there affordable alternatives that you are willing to consider? In the long run, choosing an ERP system that is compatible with existing technology will save you both time and money, as well as the frustration of learning too many new things at once. The simpler the integration process, the happier everyone will be.

Related reading: ERP is about to get friendlier and smarter

Training

As you compare and contrast ERP systems, consider whether training is an important aspect for you and your business. The training that is offered may differ considerably between systems. You should inquire about the following: whether training is included in the cost of implementation or is a separate fee; the scale of training available; training method (i.e. in person, video conference, etc); and whether there are manuals or other supplemental materials available.

Some businesses underestimate the cost and necessity of training and find they do not have the resources needed for training, in order to use their system to its full potential.  

Budget

For many small businesses, a budget will be at the top of your list of concerns when it comes to choosing an ERP system. For this reason, it is imperative that you remember to consider all associated costs, including implementation, licensing, training, and on-going support. Talk to potential ERP providers for a detailed list of fees. You certainly do want to choose a system that you are comfortable paying for.

That said, while the price is a factor, it should not be the most important one you’re deciding. Choosing a system that is cheap, but poorly suited for your business can have negative long-term consequences. On the flip-side, if you choose to spend a little more in something that is better suited to your goals and needs, a well-suited ERP system can positively impact both efficiency and profits. This is one product that is worth viewing as an investment.

More reading: What ERP means for your small business

Comparing cloud ERP to on-premise

Effective enterprise resource planning (ERP) is key to maintaining a successful business, with the advantages outweighing the costs when companies choose cloud computing over IT on premise.

By 2021, 28 percent of all IT spending will be used to support cloud-based infrastructure, middleware, application and business process services, according to GartnerConfidence is growing among enterprises that Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), along with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), will be able to offer a secure and scalable platform for application development in the future.

Evaluating ERP needs

According to IDC, more than 85 percent of enterprises will soon tap into multi-cloud architectures using a mix of public cloud services, community clouds, private clouds, and hosted clouds. The time is ripe to migrate to this technology. There have been significant advancements in cloud ERP, and the versatility of the technology still enables companies to save money if they plan well for their migration to the cloud.

Taking this into consideration, there are still many factors companies should consider when choosing between cloud ERP and the standard on-premise infrastructure. In addition to the financial and labor costs of migrating to the cloud, the most effective solution depends upon business needs.

Consider your organization’s size and scope, the expectations of your customers, the regulatory environment, the demand of workloads on cloud migration, and how your IT team defines the cloud. To manage cloud infrastructure efficiently, you’ll need to have the correct people and tools in place.

Advantages of cloud infrastructure

The cloud offers companies more agility, giving CIOs the flexibility to form cloud-based solutions that are catered to their company. Cloud ERP provides many benefits to companies who are willing to put in the time and resources to make the switch. It can be especially beneficial to startup companies, small companies or even mid-sized companies, by stimulating business growth while limiting operational expenses.

As the technology matures, companies can offer advanced data security and cybersecurity, while also helping your team save time, reduce risk and work smarter. With access to IT devices and programs that are usually reserved for larger corporations, you can also become more competitive in the marketplace.

With cloud ERP, companies can also enjoy a wide variety of options for IT solutions, choose solutions that scale well and have their choice of service providers. The management provided by an off-site team lends an added level of confidence to IT infrastructure. As an added benefit, companies often experience fewer downtimes.

Reasons to maintain on-premise technology

As you consider whether to migrate to cloud ERP solutions, it may be advantageous to perform risk analysis on behalf of your company. Take into account the collaboration needs of your firm, as well as financial operations, training operations and auditing.

Companies in heavily regulated industries may find that it’s not beneficial to migrate all operations to the cloud. The risks also increase for companies that employ more than 500 workers, as the size and scope of the migration will be more complex.

The cost of the switch varies greatly depending on the nature of a company, what infrastructure is needed, and whether the company moves fully to the cloud or opts for a hybrid option. Choosing a firm that will lead you through the process, and offer a cost-efficient solution is essential. This should consist of meeting and planning stages, steps to architect and design solutions that fit into the master plan, and a smooth plan for management of your IT solutions.

Depending on the timing of a migration, you may decide that it’s best for your company to maintain on-premise solutions. This can also be advantageous if your team is not fully prepared such a migration because of its size and scope.

An Introduction to the Management Suites of Acumatica

Technology provider Acumatica offers a flexible platform that can adapt for various small and medium-sized businesses. If your business is in manufacturing, distribution, service or even a technology startup, the news gets even better ─ Acumatica has programs specifically for your enterprise resource planning needs.

Since it’s been integrated from the start, it works seamlessly with your current systems. In fact, Acumatica serves up so many benefits that its offerings may seem overwhelming to some. Fortunately, this chart may give your business a good idea of what’s available to companies of varying sizes. 

Who is Acumatica for?

Virtually any type of business, small to large mid-size, can use Acumatica once it has outgrown basic accounting needs. From the Cloud ERP Small Business Edition, usually for the smallest clients, to the Cloud ERP Enterprise Edition, for larger companies, each has the business process monitoring and automation along with advanced financial management you need. Optional add-ons include advanced inventory management, order management, customer relationship management, and fixed assets.

  • Start with just the basics and add the optional modules when your business needs them
  • Offers dashboards and up-to-date data
  • Full mobility for smartphones and other devices
  • Coverage of full-function accounting, including purchase order processing, cash management and inventory management
  • Customer relationship management module offered

No matter how much or how fast you grow, Acumatica has an ERP package for every stage or your business growth plan. Acumatica offers multi-company, multilingual and multicurrency support for retail, field service, project accounting, manufacturing, distribution and tech startups.

Pricing based on resource consumption

Cost savings

Rather unusually, Acumatica doesn’t charge license fees based on per-seat figures (the number of users who can access the product). Instead, it bills on the number of resources your business consumes. That means small business conducting a moderate number of transactions should expect to pay less than a larger company conducting more transactions. 

You can also get a private cloud for a subscription billed monthly. Alternatively, you have the option to purchase a perpetual license. Acumatica provides multiple pricing tiers so you can choose what works best for you.

For sure, it’s a different way to do pricing but can be really welcome for growing businesses, seasonal companies or companies that have a constantly shrinking or growing user base.

Focus on manufacturing, distribution and service

Acumatica’s products do have a focus on manufacturing, distribution and service operations ─ for example, supporting lot and serial numbering as well as bill of materials and routing functions. However, if you’re not in these industries, Acumatica can still be extremely effective and user-friendly. You may need more third-party add-ons, but Acumatica will still get the job done well.

On its website, you can hear success stories from companies in diverse industries like farming, healthcare, e-commerce, hospitality and software.

Whatever your goals for ERP success, Acumatica stands out for several notable reasons, including ease of scalability, customized solutions for many industries and pay-what-you-use pricing.

Talk to your managed IT services provider about possibly adding Acumatica as another weapon in your business’s toolkit ─ especially if you’re looking to enhance your marketing operations or to improve enterprise resource management.

5 Server Maintenance Tips and Tricks to Better Support Your Business

Each and every day, you likely go about your daily business without giving your server much thought. They typically operate 24/7 without much hassle, but like all machines, they do require some level of maintenance.

This is why you need to take a proactive approach.

As you monitor and maintain your server, you will be able to help prevent a possible failure — one that could quickly turn into a disaster. To help guide you, we have created a little tips and tricks checklist. That way, you can avoid costly outages and unnecessary headaches.

Consider These 5 Server Maintenance Tips and Tricks

Unlike larger companies, you may not yet have a dedicated IT department. If this is the case, you may be currently weighed down by technical tasks that are somewhat out of your wheelhouse. The following tips and tricks are intended to guide you. However, if you are completely in the dark, it’s best that you seek the assistance of a managed service provider.

In the meantime, consider the following:

Tip #1: Update your OS

This may seem obvious. However, there are many businesses that are using outdated operating systems, leaving their companies vulnerable. All it takes is one attack, like WannaCry, for you to face a highly disruptive, potentially detrimental situation. The key here is to regularly update your operating system so that it supports regular patch releases. If you don’t, you may not have issues for months, even years — but eventually, an unpatched server will catch up with you.

Related: 9 Things You Can Do to Outsmart Ransomware Attacks

Tip #2: Clean your server

If you have your server tucked away in a closet, it’s important to physically clean it on a regular basis. Although quality servers have fairly powerful fans, that does not mean that dirt and dust can’t settle in the server’s case. This will increase the temperature within the case, potentially leading to a range of issues — including a potential fire. If your server has filters, clean them on a regular basis and use compressed air to access hard-to-reach places.

Tip #3: Check for potential hardware errors

Review your company’s system logs in order to identify signs of hardware issues. From network failures to overheating notices, it is important that you’re aware of how your hardware is operating. This is particularly important if your system has not been running as expected recently. However, even if there are not any apparent issues, checking your logs for hardware errors should become a standard part of your server maintenance strategy.

Tip #4: Confirm that your backup server is running properly

You may have already gotten into the habit of checking your backup system on a weekly basis. However, are you actually verifying that your backups are working as expected? Often overlooked, this step is imperative in regards to a solid backup plan. Even if you decide to outsource this task, you should still have a firm grasp on all the elements within your plan, including the schedule, backup location, and recovery times.

Tip #5: Move to the cloud

The cloud has allowed companies to reduce to reduce outages, which is why you should move at least a portion of your infrastructure to the cloud. This step will help you streamline your operations, hosting, data storage, and more — all while increasing speed, flexibility, and overall peace-of-mind.

Still in need of support? Please feel free to contact us regarding your IT service needs.

Also, be sure to read the following helpful resources: