Bootstrapping your IT infrastructure for under $5K

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Yes, you can set up your IT infrastructure for less than 5 big ones. Photo - Canva.

Developing your internal IT infrastructure correctly is an essential component for your business. Having the right IT equipment will help you not only deliver solutions effectively to your employees and customers but assist in business growth and productivity. So how do you prevent getting sucked into buying more than you need and blowing your budget?

I recently had a small business approach me to assist with this same dilemma. The two owners had recently left a full-scale firm and had to set up their IT infrastructure from scratch.

The brief – they needed the ability to work from home, consult to other firms and do their own work, their software had to be cloud based and needed to achieve all this for under $5K.

How I achieved it

When it comes to the software your startup uses, you may require industry-specific software such as design tools or management programs. However, typically most users just require email and word processing. The key: find multi-purpose technologies in the cloud which will offer multi-platform accessibility.

Microsoft offers the most common software stack (Outlook, Excel, Word and others) and collaboration tools such as Teams with customisable channels and conferencing options. These products are subscription-based month-to-month which assist you from large capital expenditure to manageable cost-effective expenses which can be accessed from a multitude of devices.

Other recommended software programs:
• Office 365: for email and application licensing (Word, Excel and others) which also offers Email Protection (Office 365 Defender)
• SharePoint: to manage all document libraries such as work documents including a centralised mailbox, with backup in place
• Teams: for collaboration and communication
• OneDrive: for backing up all personal data and synchronising desktop and personal documents
• Azure-based Active Directory managing logins, risk management and encryption on laptops (in case a laptop is lost or stolen)
• NextGen Antivirus scanning

Hardware (your laptops, monitors, printer, scanner) is where many people come unstuck by opting to purchase consumer-based goods (hint: a company with the same name as a fruit).

These products are under or overpowered and usually offer no real benefit to the purpose they are being purchased for. By this I mean that the cheapest available is cheap for a reason and if it is expensive – do you really need it? Hardware is a personal choice. Just ensure it has sufficient storage and it is something comfortable that you like to use.

Michael Palermo, RSM

My hardware-purchasing takeaways:

  1. Shop around – don’t be afraid to ask for discounts
  2. Avoid consumer-based equipment (I am looking at you fruit named company)
  3. Find multiple purpose technologies
  4. Steer away from anything fancy
  5. Get a decent printer with scan to email facilities (you would be surprised how often you will use it!)

Utilising these tips, I managed to set up the small business from scratch for under $5K and saved them valuable time and money.

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Michael Palermo
Michael Palermo

Author: Michael Palermo – Principal (IT Consulting), RSM. RSM is a sponsor of Startup News.