By Coley Stevenson, CINC Systems
In our industry, we improve – constantly. Upgrades to properties, like seasonal landscaping, improve the beauty of our surroundings. But one upgrade that is often deferred far too long is a technology upgrade. It’s easy to put off technology upgrades. After all, if your current tech is working fine, why replace it? Just like replacing a roof on the community clubhouse can expose hidden leaks, delving into a technology upgrade job can reveal problems you didn’t know you had. It’s essential to review your technology needs on a regular basis.
Technology changes frequently. If you’re using what was cutting-edge just a few years ago, you may be cheating yourself out of speed and processing power – especially on computers and mobile devices. Basic operational planning measures, like a needs analysis, will help you determine what you need now, and what you should plan to replace (and when). Here are a few areas to consider:
- How’s your internet connection? In many regions, business customers can choose from multiple internet service providers (ISPs) offering different technologies. You likely receive advertisements from IPSs on a regular basis detailing technologies and promotions. When you’re ready to explore your options, it’s a good idea to talk with business owners in your area to gauge reliability, customer service, and price before locking in a deal with a new ISP. Your needs may have changed since you last shopped around. Are you doing more work in your field now, with a need for a reliable mobile internet option that can handle more than your cell phone can provide? Are you still on DSL when you should be on a fiber option?
- Consider moving to the cloud. The cloud is a way to run computer programs without the software being installed on your computer. While using the cloud requires a reliable and fast internet connection, the advantage is that you can access the cloud on almost any device connected to the internet. In theory, you also have unlimited storage potential. This is important when you are dealing with large file sizes, like photographs used in violations letters.
- How does your marketing website present your company? If you still have scrolling banners, flashing “under construction” signs, or a visitor counter on your company’s website, it’s time to upgrade. Contemporary websites are responsive, meaning they look great on mobile devices or monitors. Some also have plugins that facilitate instant communication, so your potential customers can reach you immediately. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to give your website a makeover. Web hosting companies offer one-stop shopping for domains, website building, and all the tools you need to produce a beautiful website on your own. If you want to take it to the next level, you can hire a full-service website design agency to produce your new website, bells and whistles included.
Of special concern is the rapid growth of ransomware attacks. Anyone with a computer on the internet is a potential victim. This type of malware attack can paralyze a business; your systems become “locked” and held hostage until a ransom is paid. Notable examples of ransomware victims include the City of Atlanta, LabCorp, and FedEx, though ransomware attacks can happen to businesses of any size. Current antivirus protection is your best defense, along with keeping your equipment up-to-date.
Regardless of the technology upgrades you choose, make sure that you understand the scope of the project. Of course, you want to minimize disruption and downtime, so plan for a time when your business is slower. Make sure you include adequate time for testing and training. With proper planning, technology upgrades can positively impact your business goals.
Your best bet? Consult a trusted local technology expert for assistance. And make a backup. ALWAYS make a backup.
About the Author
CINC Systems is the first cloud-based association management software. CINC enables Community Association Management Companies access to tools that streamline business activities – from accounting to daily management – via the Internet from any location 24x7. For more information, visit cincsystems.com.