The Small Business Professor: Steps you can take to reduce IT costs

Scripps Howard News Service - Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Author/Byline: BRUCE FREEMAN , Scripps Howard News Service
Section: Financial

Dear Professor Bruce: What are some steps a small business owner can take to reduce information technology (IT) costs?

Answer: Marc Bressman, president of Falcon Computer Consulting offers some excellent advice.

1) Outsourcing : Outsourcing certain IT components -- like e-mail, web services, internet connection management and others -- can represent a significant savings when compared with keeping them in-house. Also, using outside IT vendors means needing fewer employees and allows your existing staff to focus on more productive pursuits.

2) Streamlining Software : Having streamlined software in the office makes usage, support and upgrades much easier and less expensive. Rather than trying to maintain a litany of different software packages, pare down to a few major products that meet the needs of your business/organization. This way, when problems arise, they're easier to locate, diagnose and remedy. And, as an added benefit, fewer, easier-to-use software programs usually means increased productivity.

3) Streamlining Hardware : Along the same line as above, having standardized hardware makes supporting and repairing machines easier and less costly. When hardware is consistent throughout the office, IT personnel tend to be more familiar with the characteristics and common problems of each machine. This cuts down on repair time and cost.

4) Shopping Around for Lower Costs : Shopping around for a lower-cost internet service provider is a tried and true money-saver. Many small businesses could easily switch from a dedicated internet connection to a business-grade connection from a major provider (Comcast, Optimum/Cablevision, Time Warner, Verizon). Such connections represent not only a less expensive on-ramp to the information superhighway, but they are also faster in many cases. The same advice holds true with any service provided by a 3rd party - shop around for the best prices but be sure not to sacrifice quality for lower cost.

5) Security : Having suitable network and computer security throughout your organization protects you, your employees and, most importantly, your customers. Inadequate security can lead to numerous problems, some of which are potentially catastrophic, including viruses, spam, spyware, malware, security breaches, introduction of error-prone or prohibited software, and more. All of the above can lead to costly repairs, network down-time, data loss and/or theft, and system-wide crashes. That's the bad news. The good news is all this can be avoided by making security a priority.

For further information, please visit

(Bruce Freeman, The Small Business Professor, is president of ProLine Communications, a marketing and public relations firm in Livingston, NJ and author of "Birthing the Elephant" (Ten Speed Press). E-mail questions to Bruce(at)

Index Terms: Buisness & Economy
Record Number: 08-25-10BIZPROF
Copyright (c) 2010 Scripps Howard News Service


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