Managed IT Services
12 Topnotch Ways to Plan Your IT Budget More Effectively
Published on June 7, 2021
If you are planning your IT budget this year, you must put into consideration the technologies or processes that enhance productivity, strengthen security, and reduce costs. At the same time, you must allocate the resources to buy or outsource as soon as they become available.
An IT budget must cover mandatory requirements and contingencies brought about by the changing demands of the market and the security landscape. Having a well-thought-out IT budget will make it easier for you to make business decisions.
How to plan your IT budget
1. Know your options.
You cannot buy the best digital assets or outsource the most up-to-date IT services if you have not done your due diligence to sort out your choices. Take the time to research them well before drawing up a shortlist of candidates.
2. Be flexible.
The IT budget must be a tool to adjust according to the realities on the ground at its implementation. If you are buying software that has been affected by a sudden zero-day attack, you should postpone it until you can find a solution.
You can strike off certain items from your buying list while completing the budget. Still, if market forces later dictate purchasing them as urgent, you can supersede the original plan. Flexibility allows you to go with the flow and seize opportunities as they develop.
3. Do not forget cybersecurity.
You can gloss over certain aspects of the business when you are planning budget allocations, but never underestimate cybersecurity matters in the general equation. Everything can crumble like a pack of cards if a data breach occurs.
Purchasing digital assets that affect protecting data and securing the network should occupy the upper tier in your purchase list.
4. Have a budget for training purposes.
Apart from allocating money for managed IT services, it would be best if you had provision for training some of your key staff on how to use certain solutions and applications that are essential to your operation.
Equally important is the need to educate staff on cybersecurity best practices, specifically phishing and social engineering. An amount should be set aside for a company-wide security awareness program to neutralize the internal threat posed by human error.
5. Set aside a disaster response fund.
Accidents or natural disasters can strike when you least expect them. You should be ready for such emergencies by setting aside a special fund to buy whatever may be needed to mitigate the damage and prevent a costly work stoppage.
Remember that disasters come like a thief in the night, so having a backup and disaster recovery plan goes a long way to ensuring your business continuity.
6. Allocate resources for mobile computing and management.
More people, including your staff, are surfing the web, making online purchases, and doing their tasks using mobile devices instead of laptops or desktop computers. The risk of a breach is high as cybercriminals are now focusing their attack on mobile traffic, which can lead to your company’s network.
To combat the threat, you should allot resources to strengthen endpoint security, including mobile devices. Strengthen your cybersecurity efforts even more when you raise cyber awareness among your employees.
7. Remember the IRS.
There are items that you can juggle around or do away with as your cash flow demands, but taxes are not one of them. It is a non-negotiable budgeting item that you should not forget because you could end up forking a lot more money in the form of fines and downtime.
8. Avoid impulse buying.
Exercise prudence in your purchase decisions to ensure that you buy only the things that you need. The latest hardware and security tools are eye-candy that will be hard to resist if you do not understand your priorities.
Remember, you are buying something not for bragging rights but for the immediate and relevant contribution it can bring to your business. Purchasing something that ends up gathering dust in one corner is a waste of money and a lost opportunity.
9. Give allowances for seasonal fluctuations.
Do not forget to account for the highs and lows that seasons bring, which can affect your purchase decisions. Even if you mark those on the calendar, understand that they can stretch or drag a little longer than usual, so make room for the difference.
For example, if a spike in prices happens as businesses prepare for the next year, you would be wise to adjust your spending accordingly.
10. Do not spend what you do not have.
Often, planners draw the budget from revenue that has not yet been earned. Overestimating expected proceeds and allocating a budget that may not be supported by actual revenue can cause headaches.
11. Spend only after due collaboration with stakeholders.
The budget will affect the operation of the different departments and projects in your organization, so get everyone involved in the planning. They can tell you the needs you should prioritize and what you can place on the back burner.
To get everyone’s perspective, and make the budget more responsive, arrange a meeting with the key stakeholders in attendance. You will be surprised by how much clarity such collaboration could bring into the budget process and the later purchases.
12. Do not exaggerate or oversimplify.
Cover your bases, but do not account for those that do not exist. Also, do not trivialize items that seem insignificant individually but may not be so when taken as a whole.
Strike a balance between spending too much and too little. You can do it by devoting more time to researching your options. You will find that the most expensive software may not necessarily be the best choice. Lower-priced alternatives may provide more value for money while satisfying your requirements for user-friendliness and technical savvy.
A budget spent well delivers growth
The budget is the strategic roadmap that points to the direction you want your business to take for the coming year. It should fund your priorities and materialize the tools and services necessary to keep you moving forward safely and efficiently.
Talk to a CyberHAWKS expert to learn how you can get the most out of your IT services budget.
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