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Survival Strategies for Small IT Shops



IT staff at very small businesses face many of the same challenges as their counterparts at larger companies: Downtime translates directly into lost dollars. But small shops must run the show with fewer financial and human resources.

"Technology is more mission-critical now," says Matt Allen, IT manager at the Washington, D.C., office of Freeman, a trade show producer. He and one assistant manage a 130-person office. "Five or six years ago if the PC wasn't working, employees could do paperwork. Today they rely on so many applications that if something goes down, you jeopardize business."

The Needs of the Many

At very small IT shops the ratio of users to IT staff often resembles long-shot horseracing odds that only a desperate gambler would put money on: 50 to 1, 60 to 1 and worse. And when you consider the same IT staff also is responsible for a host of other systems, the odds get uglier.

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