Archives for September 2015

5 Keys to validate SME-IT Investments

My 18 years interesting assignments in Indian SME-IT segment, always reinforce my respect for these wonderful entrepreneurs who build the enterprise from scratch. They create employment, drive the economy, earn foreign exchange to India, and most importantly compete globally.
 
Interestingly, their aggregate IT purchase volume is far more than that of large enterprises. And surprisingly, wait for, “SME specific” IT products is endless. In last 15 years, except for Tally and BLACKbox, I couldn’t notice an “SME specific”successful product nationally.
 
Need of coping with global competition requires SMEs to invest in sophisticated IT infrastructure. To make it worse, dearth of SME specific IT products compels SMEs to invest in products which are actually designed to cater to large enterprises, otherwise.
 
Global competition dictates Continuity of Business and Competitiveness as “survival mantra”. I have seen many smart SMEs groping in dark when it comes to validation of contribution by their IT investment towards this survival mantra.
 
Having analyzed various aspects of SME business I have zeroed down on achievement of 5 key objectives against which investment in IT can be validated.
 
Key #1
 
Preservation of Digital Assets against, accidental deletion, loss, intentional manipulation by human / malware / ransomware.
 
This will ensure “Continuity of Business”
 
Key #2
 
Portability of Digital Assets in flat 3 minutes in event of disaster or emergency
 
This will ensure “Continuity of Business” aftermath of the disaster
 
Key #3
 
Information Security to guard technology know-how, designs, business information
 
This will ensure “Competitiveness of Business” by making core competence more sustainable
 
Key #4
 
Minimize Employee Productivity Loss against temptations and distractions of internet and computing
 
This will ensure “Competitiveness of Business” by maximizing efficiencies
 
Key #5
 
Proactive Fraud Prevention against email frauds, online frauds, invasions
 
This will ensure “Competitiveness of Business” by covering enterprise from severe contingent liabilities and losses
 
Next time, when you take decision about IT investment, just check which key objective is achieved by this investment and to what extent.
 
I am glad to see BLACKbox, leading “SME specific” product market by simplifying IT infrastructure for SMEs and aligning them with more important objectives ofBusiness Continuity and Competitiveness.
 
Best Regards,
 
 
Vishal Shah
Founder and CEO,
Synersoft Technologies Pvt Ltd

Question the Answers and Decide

Dear SME Owners,

Last 8 weeks have been really turbulent, loosing us visibility on what’s happening. Yuan devaluation, northward inflation in US, southward commodity prices, Russian flag march, and at home front, reluctant banks, real estate bubble, most interestingly, RBI Governor, PM, FM and Corporate Biggies sharing common platform to discuss what’s happening and what to do.

Unfortunately, the meeting ended with less of listening and more of preaching the others.

Chinese are known for cost effectiveness. Devaluation of their currency will make them more cost effective to the world. Mr PM, please please do not see any opportunity in this. Guard our import policies and boost domestic demands. It is not the election where you prove, opponent is always doing wrong and we are better off. This is a clear threat, never to be ignored.

Let me come to the point, why I addressed this email to SME owners.

Well, I have summarized the focal points for SMEs in times to come.

Focal Point A : Focus on Continuity of Business

Any decision you take, must contribute to lengthening the Continuity of your Business in times to come. Refrain from temptations to invest working capital in illiquid assets (read real estate), speculate on your raw material commodities, drag business with customers who claim long credit periods autocratically, assume exponential liabilities by using pirated software, and of course ignore preservation of your data to save some small bucks.

How do you question the answers to keep committed to Continuity of Business?

Being from IT field, I can give you better example from IT. We all know, data loss is a sure shot terminator on your Business Continuity.

Example

Question : How do I preserve all my data (read digital assets)?

Possible Answer 1 : Sir, put a server, I will make a domain and your data will be centralized

Possible Question to Answer 1 : What will be my cost of ownership including server operating systems and CALs? Will it make all my digital assets portable to deal with any disaster?

If you think that cost is too much for bad times, look for better solutions.

Possible Answer 2 : Sir, put a NAS, I will make sure that all data is properly backed up on NAS

Possible Question to Answer 2 : Can you guarantee, whether users save data on NAS or computer, all my data will be automatically and immediately backed up on NAS?

If you think that the answer is not confident, don’t expect too much from NAS. It will be a loose arrangement towards ensuring business continuity.

Focal Point B : Focus on Competitiveness of Business

Any decision you take, must contribute to enhancing the Competitiveness of your Business in times to come. Make sure that, you retain your important employees who hold your technology or markets, you keep your know-how, customer details, business information (read tenders, bids to key customers) closely guarded from theft or manipulation, you are not prone to frauds, and your employees are productive.

How do you question the answers to enhance Competitiveness of Business?

Again, I would like to explain it by an IT related example.

Example

Question : How do I ensure competitiveness by achieving objectives of Information Security, Employee Productivity and Fraud Prevention in my business?

Possible Answer 1 : Sir, put a firewall, It will do all.

Possible Question to Answer 1 : Will it control data theft on email, internet as well as removable media? Will it protect me from email frauds or banking frauds? Will it protect me from ransomware?

If you think that answer was very tentative, firewall is not enough to keep you competitive.

Possible Answer 2 : Sir, put an Antivirus, it will serve the purpose.

Possible Question to Answer 2 : Does Antivirus make employees productive, prevent frauds by email manipulation?

If you think that the answer is conditional, believe me, you need antivirus for virus protection, not for securing your information, fraud prevention and productivity of employees.

This is a good methodology to question the answers to corner the solution provider to serve the purpose instead of imposing any solution to fit your requirements.

At least for BLACKbox, we have all answers to your questions.

It is a comprehensive and integrated solution to achieve data preservation and data portability for Continuity of Business.

It is the most cost effective solution to achieve information security, employee productivity and fraud minimization for enhancing Competitiveness of Business.

Best regards,

Vishal Shah
Founder and CEO
Synersoft Technologies Pvt Ltd
www.synersoft.in

Number 2,222, SMEs must remember, If time is money, so is data

Dear SME Owner,
I am sure, you’re wondering about number 2,222.

Are you aware, 2,222 is number of hours per year of single computer usage, to generate digital assets in the form of documents, spreadsheets, drawings, designs, reports and emails.

Now multiply it with average hourly salary paid to your employees and further multiplyit to number of employees who use computers. This is your investment in your data (read digital assets). That too, year on year.

So, I proved, It is worth paying attention to what I am going to write further.

If Time is Money, So is your Data (read Digital Assets)

For my SME owner readers, I have derived a 4 Pronged Strategy to preserve their data(read digital assets).

What, Who, Where and How is the 4 pronged strategy.

What to Backup?

I have seen SMEs confused about what to backup. Normally, they take backup of data lying on server and their accounting software. They grossly ignore digital assets lying on individual computers.

I also came across a funny rule at many SME offices. The rule says, “Users must not save anything on local computers. If they save data on local computer and if the data is lost, management is not responsible,”

This is really funny. It sounds like, “You manage my money carefully, if you loose my money, I am not responsible” You may not be responsible, but you are surely a looser, not your employee.

The rule is – You must backup all your business data, no matter, where is it stored.

Our innovation BLACKbox, forcefully centralizes all your documents, drawings, designs, spreadsheets, pdf files. You are not at users’ mercy.

Who to Backup?

I have seen SMEs entrusting manual backup of their crucial data to key employees. They grossly ignore the human nature of being inconsistent and undisciplined. Also, if everyone has backup of your data, WTF about your data security?

Some funny rules I have seen “You need to backup your data, if you loose it, management is not responsible”

Don’t act like a class room monitor. You have invested huge, remember number 2222 multiplied by X and Y. Don’t waste your employee’s productive time to take backups. They have more important priorities.

The rule is – You must invest in an automatic backup system which does not require any human intervention.

Our innovation BLACKbox, takes automatic backup in after office hours without human intervention.

Where to Backup?

I have seen SMEs, misunderstanding backup with mirroring (Raid Control). Mirroring never saves you from accidental or intentional data deletion or virus induced data corruption. Mirroring can only ensure continuity of your business if Hardware crashes.

You must make sure that all your data (server, desktop, laptop) is backed up at least at 3 places. Do not keep backups in additional hard disks inside the servers.

The most cost effective strategy is to have 3 backups, one on redundant hard disk, one on USB hard disk and one on secured private cloud.

The rule is – Do not misunderstand mirroring as backup solution. Have an automatic backup system which takes backup on at least 3 medias every day during off hours.

Our innovation BLACKbox, takes backup on desired media as well as private secured cloud, of course without human intervention.

How to Backup?

I have seen “DESI” methods of backup suggested by under-qualified IT managers or sales oriented IT vendors. They install pirated or cheap disk imaging software which requires 2-3 hours per computer to complete the backup.

It never happens during office hours, as these “DESI” methods slow down computers and networks. It can happen during night times, if all your computers are on. You can’t keep them on all 24 by 7.

I have also seen manual backup methodology, which is done by copying pasting data on media. This overwrites files in backup and exposes enterprise to serious risk of possible Data Manipulation.

Let’s say, some user / virus / ransom-ware has manipulated data by opening hundreds of file and saved them, they way you backup, all manipulated files will overwrite good files. Now you still possess those rotten digital assets in your backup, useless.

The Rule is – There must be forced centralization of data the moment it is saved by users, and backup must have versioning technology to fight possible data manipulation by users or by viruses or by ransom-ware.

Our innovation BLACKbox protects organizations from possible data manipulation by versioning backups.

Remember the number 2,222 multiplied by X and Y and invest in proper backup systems.

Best Regards,

Vishal Shah
Founder and CEO,
Synersoft Technologies Pvt Ltd