Smart Business: The Ultimate IT Checklist for the Holidays

By Henry Reith, - In Leadership

Photo Credit: slworking2

Picture of Keith Tanaka - Digity

Keith Tanaka

A guest post by Keith Tanaka, VP of Small Business for our friends at Digity

Gearing up or winding down for the holiday season can be a grueling task for small businesses. There are many things to plan for, such as assessing your inventory needs, marketing strategies, and employee count for the new year. Tuning up your business technology and IT systems is also key if you want to set up your business for success.

To help you get started, here are five suggestions to prepare your business technology for the holidays.

  1. Run a System Health Check-Up

While your business might not have an e-commerce site, it’s likely that you and your employees use work computers for personal shopping, especially during the holidays. Heightened shopping activity increases opportunity for cyber criminals to steal identities and money through a variety of scams and viruses. Running an antivirus scan on your employees’ computers is the first line of defense for keeping systems free of malware and understanding the best ways to combat it.

  1. Remind Your Employees of IT Policies

With upcoming festivities and vacation time, employees might be more tempted to view their personal email or browse social and shopping sites on their work computers. Clearly define your workplace policy on Internet usage, and remind employees about suspicious links that can come through personal email or ads. If you do not have an administrator lock on systems, remind employees not to download applications and software unless they are approved.

  1. Plan Ahead for Your Technology Needs

Assess your technology needs for the upcoming year and budget accordingly. Spend some time researching and seeking expertise in software upgrades, new applications, and system changes that boost productivity and efficiency. Be mindful of running any major software updates or system changes during the busy holiday season, in case you run into any unexpected IT troubleshooting.

  1. Stock Up on Hardware and Software During Sales

After researching your business technology needs, there’s no better time to purchase new software and hardware than the holiday season. Holiday sales present great cost-saving opportunities to save on backup hardware, electronics, and software upgrades. Cybermonday.com is a top source for deals from more than 700 vendors such as Apple, Dell and Panasonic, as well as coupons and free shipping offers.

  1. Start Early on Spring Cleaning

Many small businesses slow down during the holiday season. Take advantage of the downtime and clean up your database, which can boost website load times and decrease bounce rate. According to Kissmetrics, about half of your website visitors will expect sites to load in two seconds or less. Removing outdated, excessive amounts of data—like duplicate contacts and junk records—can optimize your sales and marketing database to deliver targeted offers during the holiday season.

The holidays can be stressful for any small business, but if you plan ahead and act smart now, you can have a leg up on the competition before the new year begins. Good luck!



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