Technology and football…not that different from each other in many aspects. In the simplest explanation of football, the idea is to get the ball into the other team’s end zone while keeping your opponent from doing the same. For technology, we just want our information and communication to be available when we need it and keep unsavory folks from compromising the system. Sounds simple enough…

…until you think deeper. Like every sport, the game is won or lost before we ever step onto the field, the plate, the swimmer’s block, or whatever starting line your sport commands. Except for freakish circumstances the reality is you won’t be competitive, let alone win, unless you take time to plan and prepare long before you compete.

Technology is no different. Companies have definitely made it easier for consumers to be effective deploying small networks, protecting your data, and making tools available when you need them. But, the ease to deploy these bits can also cause confusion and risk if your needs increase or you scale and start stacking technology together.

From my perspective, small business is where we really need to start with a plan that allows for scalability and takes into account disaster recovery, high availability, and adds in a sprinkle of governance. Today a laptop, inexpensive router, and a couple of email addresses might be all you need, but will it work for you down the road? For a small business owner, by no means am I suggesting you need a team of consultants throwing fancy terms around and reams of paper at you for obscene amounts of money. Even if you can, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Tomorrow that might make sense as your business needs require it, but today a basic plan and some thoughtful preparation to follow may be all you need. Your plan may be to stay the course, but consider if are you taking best practices into account for your business now.

Ask yourself some basic questions regarding technology and don’t be afraid to ask for help. “We don’t know what we don’t know”.

Where do I see my business in the future? Will my current technology handle that load? Do I feel like I have too much tech? Do I know what we have? Is my current provider educating me? Do I see value in the technology we are paying or have paid for? What happens if my server crashes? What if our building suffers major disaster, is everything lost? Are there ways to increase productivity and lower cost? Do we have virus protection? Are our systems up to date with patches and service packs? The list goes on ad nauseam so sticking to the basics is key out of the gate.

To the point…get a plan together, learn how it all fits together, get answers to your questions, be prepared to adjust the plan if it isn’t working, and know what to do if the other teams quarterback fakes the handoff and passes into your secondary.