By Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MVP (Enterprise Security)
Version 1.0 June 9, 2009
Back in the golden days of IT, when companies had plenty of money to throw around, it didn’t matter so much if there was a little wastage here and there. Today, however, budgets are tight and there aren’t many dollars to spare. That means IT departments need to take a good,hard look at where the money is going and where cuts can be made -- before someone higher up does it for you. In this article, we look at 10 ways you might be letting precious dollars slip right through your fingers. Some of these may seem to be just common sense, but there are organizations out there right now that are wasting money in all these ways.
Despite somereduction in power costs over the last year, rates appear to be headed back up. The electric bill is still a large expense for most companies -- and the IT department is a big user of energy. You can save more money than you might suspect by adopting some energy-saving policies. Sure, most of the servers need to be accessible all the time. But IT personnel are often careless about leaving workstationsrunning when they aren't doing anything and won't be accessed remotely or substituting the use of a screensaver for turning off the monitor (you should do both). With the power settings available in modern operating systems, there's really no excuse for it, but some IT pros turn off power-saving features in favor of higher performance. How about the practice of leaving lights on in offices and serverrooms when no one is there? Most people don't think about the cost, but it can add up. Using more energy-efficient lighting and buying Energy Star rated equipment can also save big bucks over the long run.
Spending too much on mobile technology
Mobile phones and devices are "fun toys" for IT pros, but company-provided equipment and plans may be costing more than necessary. A recentsurvey showed that only one out of four employees uses 75% or more of the voice minutes that their companies are paying for and almost half (48%) have services on the plan that they never use at all. As this article explains, many companies don't have viable policies regarding mobile device use.
Not allowing employees to work from home
Company managers sometimes fail to recognize thesignificant cost benefits -- to both employer and employee -of allowing employees to telecommute all or part of the time. One reason they oppose such an arrangement is that they won't have as much control over workers who aren't on site. IT departments sometimes support this position for fear that remote workers will present a security threat. However, with modern technologies such as NAP/NAC andDirectAccess, you can ensure that remote systems connecting to the company LAN are properly configured and protected and that the connections are secure. Allowing more employees to work from home enables the company to save money on office/parking space and heating/air conditioning. Employees save money on clothes, lunches, and transportation. They also often enjoy work more, so they end up putting inextra hours that raise productivity and benefit the company. Many IT-related jobs, such as those of in-house developers and Web designers, can be done from home.
Using consultants when the job could be done by staff
It's a common scenario: Employees have been telling management for months or years that changes need to be made, but they've been ignored. Then the company hires aconsultant, who charges tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to do a "study" and arrives at the same conclusion, providing the same advice staff members were trying to give away free.
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