Tips for Small Businesses: 5 Ways to Slash IT Costs During the Coronavirus Pandemic

COVID-19 has greatly reduced income for a multitude of small businesses. As in-office workers have transitioned to remote working and storefronts have closed, businesses are left scrambling to cut costs.

If you find yourself in that position, it may be time to look at how your IT costs could be reduced without sacrificing quality or security.

#1: Get rid of unnecessary subscription software.

The first step you need to take if you have recently downsized or if your business has transitioned to fully remote is to review your current software subscriptions. While you were in the office, your team likely used a plethora of apps and subscription software services, but if you’re feeling the negative financial effects of the pandemic, it’s time to see what options you can eliminate.

If you use a software sparingly, consider removing it to cut costs for the time being. Many software services do not want to lose you as a customer, and may even consider pausing your subscription or cutting costs dramatically for a month or two to keep you on as a client.

#2: Consider software alternatives. 

If you’re still using several software subscriptions but can’t cut down on many of them, it may be time to consolidate your current software services into one alternative.

If one employee prefers Dropbox, while another prefers Google Drive, make a decision on which one you’ll keep, and then get rid of the rest. This goes for multiple overlapping software options, from messaging apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams, to video conferencing including Zoom, Skype, and WebEx. In each of these scenarios, each group of these can be consolidated down to one option.

Having everyone on the same software will also allow for a more cohesive work environment, which is absolutely necessary when workers are all remote. If you’ve ever asked employees where a file is, only to find two similar files with discrepancies between them, you know the importance of congregating all documents in the same place, whether it be Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft Office Suite.

Of course, you must choose the software that caters to your business needs. Small medical practices can partner with an IT support in New York that knows the HIPAA compliance to integrate the system, including software, that aligns with that compliance. Consolidating software can be time-consuming, but it will reduce unnecessary costs and produce a more professional atmosphere.

Not sure which video conferencing is the best option for your team as you work remotely? Check out this breakdown here to see what best fits your business.

#3: Switch to VoIP phone systems.

If your team has switched to remote working, there’s no need to pay for your expensive office phone services. Frankly, if you haven’t switched to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone systems and VoIP handsets before now, you’ve been wasting money.

While VoIP has only recently become fairly popular, it’s been around since the 1970s, So, why don’t more people take advantage of the Internet-based option? It’s likely that businesses are simply not aware of the benefits, one of which is a greatly reduced cost in comparison to a traditional landline.

It is estimated an average landline phone system costs a business $50 per line, each month. VoIP lines are much more affordable at less than half that price and are easy to install. If you haven’t made the switch to VoIP, this is an easy way to save on your IT costs. If you are unsure about switching, call your current landline provider and let them know you’re able to save substantial costs by switching; they may be able to offer you a discount on your current plan.

#4: Reevaluate per-user agreements.

Do you have any software or equipment subscriptions or agreements that charge per user? If so, you may be overpaying during the COVID-19 pandemic. With reduced work output for many businesses and smaller teams being put to use, you are likely overpaying for any per-user subscriptions. In some cases, you may find that you are not using specific software at all, and it may be time to cut those agreements completely.

Go through the list of subscription software you use with your employees to see where you can pair down these services.

#5: Outsource your IT.

It may be time to look outward to cut some IT costs. If a single in-house IT provider isn’t able to keep up with IT needs, you may need to consider decreasing your IT costs significantly by outsourcing your IT with a Managed Service Provider. Some of the benefits of outsourced IT professional team include the following:

  • Reduced costs. Managed IT services generally come at the cost of a single salaried employee. Rather than hire one in-house IT professional who can’t meet all your IT demands, it’s wise for businesses to outsource to a fully equipped team of professionals with various IT backgrounds and specialties to meet your needs.
  • Round-the-clock support. Many Managed Service Providers offer 24/7/365 support, meaning you can get the help you need to solve IT issues no matter when they occur. This is a huge benefit when compared to in-house teams who generally only work during business hours.
  • More time to focus. Don’t spread yourself thin; outsourcing IT allows you to have every employee focus on what your business provides and put all effort towards the core functions of your business.

The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over and will continue to cause financial struggles for many businesses.  Using these five tips for your small business will help slash costs during the crisis and will set you up for success long-term.