Everyone appreciates the need for data backup. Several methods are available in the marketplace, ranging from the DIY model using external hard drives that are manually swapped out to cloud-based methods where everything is automated. This part is easy. Two elements are often overlooked: One is testing the data backup. The other is data restoration. The only way to know your data is accurate is to do a test restore and verify completeness and accuracy. This should be done annually. Should the worst-case-scenario happen, where will you restore your backup? Think about the disruption to your business if you are down 2-3 days while waiting for a new server to be ordered, delivered, and configured. A better method is to use a backup service that also includes a temporary cloud server. This Disaster Recovery method not only protects your data, it also protects your business continuity in the days following a server failure.
Practices who are struggling financially look to save money anywhere and everywhere. Server failures can happen to anyone at anytime. Not being properly protected and/or losing 2-3 days of operational efficiency during a data restoration is a risk for all practices, especially for one already facing financial problems.
What could be worse for a practice already facing an uncertain future than a data breech? Risk Assessments are a necessity, not an option. More important is taking action to close any gaps in security. This includes anti-virus software, computer patches and upgrades, and reviewing your firewall reports. There are a million things on your mind, but don’t leave a door open for a hacker.
Reactive IT is like an emergency department physician that doesn’t get paid unless there is an accident or acute health problem. Sometimes this is referred to as “break-fix IT support.” Reactive, “break-fix” IT providers are paid by the hour to come help when an IT problem is too complex for you to figure out on your own.
Proactive IT is like a dentist who is paid to prevent tooth decay from happening. Proactive IT constantly monitors computers and networks to correct small problems while they are small. The more network elements under the watch of a single provider, the better the outcome, the easier it is to manage business relationships.
Proactive IT looks ahead at your future IT needs. After all, you don’t just want a smooth running computer network today, you want it tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
Just like computers have a life expectancy of 3-5 years, all network hardware has a similar lifespan and will need replacement. Some IT companies sell equipment, marking it up as much as 30% above MSRP. It is a challenge to balance maximizing the ROI on purchased hardware with the need to decrease risk by replacing equipment before it fails. Maintaining cashflow is crucial for business performance. Moving from a purchasing model to utilizing network hardware “As A Service” is a strong option for future planning and preserving cashflow year after year.
Technology can save money. Software that automates routine activities expands the capabilities of a practice without increasing staff overhead. Two examples: software that automatically faxes physician documentation back to referring practices; software that automatically fills cancelled appointment slots with patients who want to fill the opening by communicating with them through SMS text messaging. These tools are advantageous, but not inexpensive. They can optimize an already busy practice, but they may not add enough revenue to cover the expense. Evaluate costs carefully.
Here are two examples:
These tools are advantageous, but they may not add enough revenue to cover the expense. Evaluate costs carefully. You don’t want to jeopardize the future of the practice with future tools.
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