If you let your technology fall behind, you might have a tough time catching up. Jack Wallen explains why outdated IT can hurt your business.
IT evolves at the speed of light. The second you blink, everything changes. And the minute you purchase something, it's out of date. For those who don't believe this, I have but one thing to say: You're delusional. I'm going to give you 10 signs that you might be stuck in the past with your IT. I hope that after reading this, your eyes will be opened to the possibilities of the now and the future. After all, IT exists in a different time zone from other segments of the world. I like to call that time zone Future Time!
1: You still think Linux will never succeed
Seriously? You still believe this? Linux has not only succeeded, it will continue to gain more and more ground. And thanks to the bumbling of Microsoft and Windows 8, Linux will find even more traction in the world of business. This type of thinking was valid in the mid to late nineties. But now, Linux is in use everywhere and on every level, from the server to the desktop.
2: You deny the power and flexibility of virtualization
Virtualization can save your company money and allow you to maximize your server hardware in ways you never thought possible. If you have yet to give virtualization serious consideration, you're missing out on the most reliable and flexible system in play today. You might also be missing out on a future for your organization that allows you to expand beyond your wildest dreams.
3: Your business email is an aol.com address
I know... it's crazy. But I still come across this time and time again. If you want ANYONE to take your business seriously, you can't use an AOL email account for communication. Businesses need their own, unique domain or at least a Gmail account. Do not think a holdover from the nineties is even remotely acceptable.
4: Your computers are mostly "white boxes"
Those white boxes, the ones that are dingy from use and cigarette smoke... you can't expect them to perform reliably for your business. Unless you have taken those old beat-down white-box cases and placed modern components within them, they should be hit with an electro magnet and disposed of properly. If you want people to take you seriously, you don't want them to walk into a white-box farm that looks like it'll probably give up the ghost any moment.
5: You're still running your network on a DSL backbone
Look, I get that we have to pinch pennies. But shooting yourself in the foot with an unreliable, slow DSL line to run your business is a deal breaker. Not only are the speeds significantly slower than those of cable, the reliability is questionable at best. As a business, you must have reliable technology -- especially when it comes to remaining connected to your target audience and markets.
6: Your software is all out of date and you see nothing wrong with that
Those upgrades you have been avoiding for years? There is actually a reason they are released -- to patch security holes, fix bugs, and add new features. Most likely, that platform you're running is riddled with holes and is nothing more than a disaster waiting in the wings.
7: You believe open source has no place in business
I have someone I'd like to introduce you to --his name is LAMP. LAMP is all over the place, from small business to huge enterprise business. LAMP is open source and will never be surpassed by a proprietary solution. You should get to know LAMP. Just in case you're unsure, LAMP stands for Linux Apache MySQL PHP -- all open source solutions. 'Nuff said.
8: You rely on Windows desktop firewalls for security
If you believe the Windows desktop firewall (or the Windows platform in general) is secure enough by itself, I have some bad news for you: Your network WILL eventually be breached. You owe it to yourself to obfuscate those Windows machines behind a hardware-based firewall. Get a Sonicwall, Cisco, or Fortinet device and enjoy some modern security.
9: Telecommuting isn't an option because it's "too hard to set up"
Since the advent of the Internet, telecommuting has become increasingly prominent. People can actually work from home! Yet there are still those stuck in the dark ages who believe the only way to ensure employees are working is to stand over them with a cat-o-nine tails and bully them into keeping their nose to the grindstone. That's all fine and well if you don't care about the satisfaction of your employees. But the second word gets around that they can find other jobs that will allow them to telecommute, you'll see attrition rise exponentially.
10: You believe social networking is a waste of time
All that socializing will come to no good! Keep that water cooler talk to a minimum! You blasted kids better stay off my yard! You see where this is going? If you keep your employees from having the slightest bit of freedom, you will eventually find yourself without employees. And if you keep your company from taking advantage of the PR and marketing juggernaut that is social media, you might as well pull out your trusty Gatling gun and shoot yourself in both feet. Social networking isn't just for socializing --it's also for business. Even its social aspect is good for business, as it encourages trust and promotes an atmosphere that employees will want to be a part of.
Let's face it, it's really easy to get left behind in IT. But if you suffer from any of the above signs, it might be too late for you -- the IT train has passed you by. In all seriousness, being an IT admin means constantly working to remain current. Not only will this enable you to enjoy the latest technology, but it will also ensure that your networks and systems are secure and reliable. Get left behind and you're vulnerable in more ways than you can imagine.