By Chris Mullan,
Head of Medium Business,
UK & Ireland, Dell Corporation

Small and medium businesses around the globe are grappling with the current tough economic conditions — that’s no surprise. Everyone’s looking for the magic recession-proof strategy that will protect their business.

Truth is, recession-proofing isn’t magic, but rather it comes down to business fundamentals of cost-management and smart investment. In reality, the savvy business-owner can position his or her company for growth in the current environment.

When the economy picks up, smart companies that have refined their internal processes and controlled costs will be in an excellent position to take advantage of the upturn. The opportunities available in a slowdown can help to boost market share when the recession turns.

Cutting Costs Is Key

Recession or not, cutting costs and maximizing profits is key. Where to start? Looking at four aspects of your company’s IT infrastructure will likely produce some real savings.

1. Protect against loss

Your business runs on technology and that technology runs on the data your business owns. Imagine for a second the cost of losing all of your customer data at once. Seventy percent of small businesses that experience a major data loss go out of business within a year — there’s a cost you can’t afford. It’s time to ensure you have adequate data back —up systems, workplace data management policies and network and equipment security in place. Cloud computing has opened up a wealth of options for businesses to securely store data without the vulnerability of hardware damage and loss.

2. Green is green

There have been remarkable advances in the energy-efficiency of IT equipment and they can lead to real cost savings for you. Running the computers and servers on your company network is likely costing you as much in electricity as keeping the lights on in the office. As you replace equipment, look for the most energy efficient systems out there — the latest Optiplex desktop computers from Dell, for example, are up to 80 percent more energy efficient than the previous generation, and servers are delivering dramatically more performance for up to 25 percent less energy.

3. Consolidate

Virtualization technology can reduce the amount of hardware your company is using, still deliver more performance than you will ever need, make your network more efficient... and save you money. And those savings are before you calculate the reduced power and cooling costs resulting from managing fewer servers and storage arrays.

4. Consider Total Cost of Ownership

TCO has been a mantra for years, but the fact is IT equipment doesn’t only cost you as much as the hardware, other costs over the life of the system can add up. One easy way to manage that? Look for software-as-a-service (SaaS) or Web-based services offerings to keep your network and systems running optimally and avoid problems before they hit. What’s more, you’ll pay for what you use, instead of paying expensive perpetual license fees, which can help dramatically lower the TCO of your IT equipment. Also, customers are holding on to systems longer today, but holding on to them for too long can cost more in the long run. Working with your IT vendor can help you plan for lifecycle management of your IT equipment to be sure you are managing your TCO effectively.

There’s no magic protection that companies have from the current economy, but there are some smart moves they can make to differentiate themselves from competitors and prepare for future growth. A smart IT strategy can help reduce costs today and make solid investments for the future.