If you’re the owner of a business or an IT manager, and your business is growing, you may be worried about the spiraling costs of it, and the security holes that start to appear in an organization as you grow and add more and more people.
Most common challenges for growing business
In this post, I’m going to share some of the most common challenges that start to come up for growing businesses and what you can do about them. As a business grows. Typically, business owners will just throw more and more and more people at the processes of a business. The challenge is that technology strategy doesn’t always keep up with what’s being thrown at the growth of the business. And quite often, we’re just adding more and more people. But we’re not necessarily having our technology systems become more efficient as we grow. And that’s where an effective CIO or CTO will be thinking about how the technology systems should become more efficient and better supporting of the business as you add more humans into the mix.
So I’m going to cover some of the most common things that can go wrong, and what you can do about it to make sure that you’re keeping tabs on the right things as your business grows.
Subscription Overwhelm Issues
First up, I want to talk about subscription overwhelm. And this is something that kind of starts in a small business, typically with an entrepreneur that has bright shiny object syndrome, who’s floating back and forth between different tools, and the next latest tool comes out and they put their credit card in for a trial. And all of a sudden, you end up with lots and lots of different ways of doing things.
Quite often when businesses are in the early stages as well, you’ll be looking for a best practice tool or a best in class tool. And what that tool might be used for is a particular task or a particular function in the business. And let’s say, as a broad example, you use something like zoom instead of Google Meet, or you use something like Slack, instead of Google Chat to use for your business in the early days.
Now what can happen is as a business starts to grow, whereas you’re just paying for licenses, adding more and more users, all of a sudden that cost can get out of control. And quite often, we find that businesses and business owners have not quite taken a step back and had a look at evaluating whether or not that product is actually the right product for the task at hand. Sometimes when you are so fast sunk into costs or so far sunk into a solution, it’s difficult to step back and say, Hey, what do we pick this solution if we were to make the decision again, now, now, subscription overwhelm happens, where you have multiple tools that are potentially having overlap in the jobs or the tasks that they’re doing. For example, using zoom instead of Google meet. When you have a Google meet solution there, it’s perfectly good to use or using slack instead of Google Chat when you’ve got a perfectly good chat solution to use there.
Now we’ve got a separate post on why you might choose Meet over zoom and why you might choose Google Chat over slack. And I am biased in recommending Google workspace because of the work that we do. But it’s not without merit that for you to use the Google ecosystem simplifies the way that you’re working, and could potentially save you 1000s, if not 10s of 1000s of dollars a year in your IT spend by not doubling up on tools that you don’t need. So the easiest way to deal with subscription overwhelm is to ask yourself for each application that you have what I choose this application, again, if I had my time over, and in some cases, the small amount of upfront pain of making the switch to another application, hopefully in the Google world to save you some money and make it a little bit simpler, that is likely to reap rewards for many years into the future. getting stuck along the road with an external application outside of your main subscription.
Google workspace means that there’s more to maintain, more to protect, and more potential security vulnerabilities, particularly when staff is coming and going in a fast-growing business.
The second point that I want to share is about security. And that is that usually as businesses grow, and they start to add, more and more headcount, security can start to become a little bit lacks. And what I mean by that is just making it easy and convenient for everyone to access the information that they need, which can lead to, unfortunately, cross-pollination of information that might not be suitable for everyone.
An example of this would be having one large company drive or shared drive set up in Google drives. And within that drive, having subfolders with marketing and Finance and Administration and all the different areas of the business, although it might not be appropriate for each person in the business to access each one of those subfolders. And so a more thoughtful way of categorizing that would be for each department to have their own shared drive, and group permissions set up for each one of those shared drives. So they’re locked down and protected just to the correct people in the business to access those files.
Using Google Workspace Against Files Leakage
Let’s talk about when things go wrong inside of shared folders or sharing inside of Google Drive. If it’s not done correctly in Google workspace with the right prediction policies. One of the biggest risks to organizations is information flowing out of the organization, and that might be financial reports, it might be customer information. And for any business with over $2 million of revenue in developed countries, you can run into real trouble with the Privacy Act by exposing Your customer information outside the business. There are even jail terms for anyone who makes serious breaches of these laws. And so it’s something really serious for directors to make sure they’re paying attention to now one of the largest risks is files being shared outside the organization. And thankfully, there are some simple policies that you can configure inside of Google workspaces admin panel, which locked down the sharing from Google Drive.
For example, you can choose for a shared drive not to allow any files to be shared outside the organization, or even outside the shared drive that it’s a part of. There are other ways to lockdown files as well as restricting the ability to copy, print, or even make a download of those files.
Now the challenge is that we have a layer of convenience to balance with security. And I like to think of that as a bit of a seesaw. We’re always trying to find this balance between not inconveniencing our users and being able to keep our users trained and on track with basic security principles, but also having enough security that the business is well protected. And intellectual property is not at risk.
The simplest way I like to describe how you should do your IT policies is simple policies, strong enforcement, make sure the policy is super, super easy to follow, but enforce it strongly.
Now, one of the examples of that is anytime a file is shared with an org, it’s not shared individually via a share link. Files are only allowed to be shared by placing them into a shared drive. And what that creates is a culture of your team, putting files in the right place and storing them neatly. And then they are only ever shared with those who are members of the shared drive. This means that only the people who shouldn’t be looking at the document can actually look at the document. So simple policy, strong enforcement make that a blanket rule for everyone.
Onboarding & Offboarding Technical Policies
The final tip in this video is to ensure that your onboarding and offboarding technical policies are nice and tidy, easy to follow for your HR team but promote good security practices for your business.
For example, what I’ve seen in many businesses is when they issue a new account to a staff member, they will have a password that has been generated by the person setting it up. And it might be a company name, hashtag 123. And that’s definitely not a secure password, although sometimes it can actually get through the password filters. When you’re configuring a new account. The best security policy would be to when you issue a new account to someone in the organization to force them to change the password and set up their own fresh password. And you can set up password policies to have your team refresh their passwords every certain amount of time within the business.
Now I would say up to 90 days at a time would be a good length of time for a password for your team to refresh them really quickly. Or if you want to allow that to be a little bit more relaxed, you can go for 180 or even 365 days when you’re onboarding new staff. You also want to make sure that part of your technical onboarding policy includes putting your employees in the right user groups, in those user groups, which will spread to your chat, which will spread to your drive, and which will spread to your calendars as well. They are the place that you make sure that the right permissions only go to the right people, then you’re no longer adding anyone manually 20 files or any resources, it’s all automatically happening with group files.
Now even if you’re a small business, and you only have 10 odd employees in the business, you’re not yet in the big game of scale mode, it’s still a good idea to set up group-based permissions. Because what this does is it builds the discipline of good security practice inside the business. And you can make sure that your onboarding saves a bunch of time by being able to add one person to one group and give them access to all the resources that they need.
One of the favorite tricks that I love about using groups for calendar invitations is, for example, if you have an all-hands meeting when a new employee joins and they’re added to the group, they will retroactively receive a notification and an invitation to join that recurring meeting calendar invite. It’s a great feature of groups. And when coupled with the calendar. It works fantastically for recurring meetings.
Now, don’t forget your onboarding process as well. When you have someone leave the business, you want to make sure you’ve got the right processes in place to clean up their accounts, redirect their email, and potentially even archive their accounts.
Now if you’re a business owner or an IT leader, and you’re wondering, where should I start with my Google workspace account, contact us and we will help you set up your Google Workspace account. And if you’re eligible, our team will reach out to you with discounts and offer with Google Workspace. We’ll help you set up the basics like your DNS settings and jump into some of the more advanced policies. But really, we’re looking to help you get the most out of your investment in Google workspace, whether you’re a business or an educational organization, or a Non-profit. If you’d like some help from our team, click here “Contact Us”. I look forward to seeing you sometime soon. Drop us a thumbs up if you liked this post. And if you’ve got any comments or feedback, drop them just below and we’ll catch you soon.