Every engineering firm needs IT Consultants. The problem is that often some of these companies don't think they need them—until it's too late.
As with everything, it's best not to wait for things to go wrong for you to start coming up with a plan. You should anticipate the risks of ‘winging it' in this department and always have a well experienced IT consultant, like TCG or other similar providers, on retainer to smoothen your work processes and handle any crises.
If you aren’t sure why hiring one is important, here are the top 11 reasons every engineering firm should want an IT consultant:
To Ensure Regulatory Compliance
Regulatory compliance can be a complicated process, and without proper guidance, you could end up in serious trouble with the law due to simple mistakes that might slip unnoticed for months or even years. An IT consultant can be your eyes and ears when it comes to making sure all the moving parts (and servers and networks and backups and processes and procedures) are doing what they're supposed to do according to company policy, professional standards of practice, state laws, federal laws, and licensing restrictions, etc.
To Ensure Your Data Is Safe
There are all sorts of thieves out there who would love nothing better than to get their hands on your data, trade secrets, and list of client contacts, among others. They're clever, too. Some of them will go through the most convoluted means just to get what they want.
An IT consultant can help you stay one step ahead of the game by making sure you have proper backups in place—not just for data and information, but also for servers and network devices. As such, if something does happen, you can recover quickly and easily without losing any precious company time or money in the process.
To Ensure You Have Adequate Capacity
You might have the best processes and procedures in place, but if your infrastructure can't keep up with them, you're sunk. An IT consultant can help you identify problem areas as well as inadequate or insufficient capabilities that might be slowing down or even crippling throughput.
In some cases, it may be as simple as purchasing additional hardware. In other cases, a complete overhaul of existing equipment might be needed to bring things up to speed, which is where an IT consultant's expertise will come into play (and be worth every penny).
To Ensure You Can Get Your Work Done
We've all had that feeling before where you’re unsure of what you should be doing. It might not happen often, but it's still not a pleasant feeling and it’s one that can lead to significant blunders.
An IT consultant can help ease some of those nerves by getting you up and running as soon as possible, whether just helping to set up basic procedures or providing training on more complex topics, such as remote access tools for your employees so they can work from home (or wherever) just as easily as at the office.
To Help You Get Up To Speed If You're New To The Industry
Not everyone gets into the engineering industry with years of previous IT experience. Some people come in fresh out of school. That means you or some of your workers will need to familiarize themselves with some important IT terms and concepts so that you can talk about them with your team—or at least know what they're talking about when it comes time to discuss specific topics.
An IT consultant can help get you up to speed quickly on all of these most important aspects, including things like standards of practice, different types of passwords, proper network setup, physical security measures (cameras, locks, badge access systems), and even basic troubleshooting techniques.
To Help With Problem-Solving
Every company's IT infrastructure is unique in some way, usually because someone wanted it so for some reason or another. This makes problem-solving challenging not only for the employees using the technology but for the consultants trying to make things better.
Sometimes it's not easy to know where to start, but an IT consultant can help by providing a fresh pair of eyes on any given problem and offer up suggestions. In some cases, they can even automate certain processes or troubleshooting steps so that solutions can be implemented automatically instead of requiring dozens (or hundreds!) of manual steps.
To Provide Access To Tools And Resources You Might Not Otherwise Be Able To Obtain
As with any profession, there are tools and resources available for use by industry professionals that might not necessarily fall within your budget or outside the scope of what you'd need if you only had one engineer working for you. But an IT consultant can help provide access to those tools and resources, so you never have to worry about differentiating between what makes sense to do in-house versus what might be better off going outside the company for—or even deciding that a tool or resource isn't worth having after all once you see it first-hand.
To Help With The Transition/Integration Of New Employees
A lot of companies don't bother hiring an IT consultant until they need one, that is when they land in a crisis that could have been avoided by just having a consultant from the get-go.
This is why it's important to make sure they're on board from day one (or at least before you start bringing new people on board). An IT consultant will work with existing employees as well as newcomers, getting them up to speed on best practices for security, company policy, standard procedures, and anything else related to technology for your business.
This means you won't have to worry about new employees inadvertently putting the network at risk due to their lack of education on IT or not being able to get work done because they don't know the proper way to set up a remote access connection or how to deploy that cool new software everyone is talking about.
To Manage Compliance Risks Related To Security And Regulatory Standards
Compliance is no longer just an IT problem—it's a business problem too. When you're dealing with sensitive customer data (or your company's finances), the consequences of not meeting compliance requirements can be anywhere from inconvenient to devastating, depending on what kind of information gets breached or how many records are lost or leaked in the process.
The most effective way to manage compliance risks is by making sure all employees understand company policy and practise good security habits at all times. However, when policies fall short of full prevention due to time constraints or other factors, an IT consultant can step in to review things like access privileges, perform vulnerability assessments and penetration tests on the network, and monitor for any suspicious activity that might indicate a violation.
To Monitor And Maintain The Security Of Your Network
Much like some people don't want to think about their car's maintenance unless something goes wrong, many companies don't consider how important it is to have an IT consultant on hand until there's a problem, which is exactly when you need one most.
A good IT consultant will keep an eye out for potential security risks before they ever become issues by doing things like monitoring log files and updating access privileges as employees leave the company. Nonetheless, they'll also be able to respond quickly and efficiently if anything does happen. This will save time and money by limiting your company's exposure to loss and damage, as well as giving you the peace of mind that your company is in good hands even when you're not.
To Keep Up With The Latest Changes And Developments In Your Industry And Make Recommendations For Improvement
Even though technology tends to advance at a faster rate than other industries, it still moves more quickly within some sectors like engineering, for example. But how are you supposed to keep up with every new development on the market? How can you possibly know if they're relevant or serious enough to justify an upgrade or replacement?
One option is to hire an IT consultant who has the first-hand experience using these products. However, even this might not be enough if you don’t choose the best in the field (or if the consultant isn't as familiar with it as they should be).
You will want to make sure you have a consultant who knows your business and its industry inside and out, one who can make informed recommendations based on all aspects of what's going on right now, including changes that are likely to take place soon.
Your engineering firm, like any other business, is on the market to make a profit. One of the best things you can do to improve your team's effectiveness and productivity is to hire an IT consultant. With one, you can always be sure that your only job is to focus on the area of the firm that you're an expert on, which is engineering, yet still, end up with some of the best IT management there is.