I had my regular eye exam and in making small talk with the doctor I discovered that his office uses Box. This is fascinating to me. It used to be that small business might buy a Windows file server, or if they were more advanced a NAS file storage device. Now they are wisely going online to get more reliable service and performance and probably a lower cost as well.
The reason I am sharing this is that without a formal IT person in a small business, most small business tend to do what is easiest with IT. They tend to prefer to outsource their IT infrastructure as much as they can. I have worked with many small businesses and see this all the time. The problem with that is that often what they don’t know about IT can end up costing them a great deal of money.
I am not criticizing my doctor and think that Box is a great choice for file storage. However it is impossible for a non-IT person to be aware of the risks of their decision making. For example, if their network connection goes down they are sunk. What you can do with many online services is have a hybrid model where there is a device on your network that gets synchronized as well as the online version. So if the internet goes down, you are still able to work. I have never worked anywhere that has used this hybrid approach although it is clearly the superior one. Managers say that they don’t need the redundancy because Internet connections are reliable, but my experience shows that too often Internet is not reliable.
For example, I have worked in many companies where the Internet goes down regularly. Not because of a fault of the company, but their internet provider. The last company I worked for had their remote offices go down all the time. Their T1 and fiber connections to those offices would get cut, and those offices were not able to work. This was a huge expense and one that was entirely avoidable if some modest investments had been done.
You can get almost 100% reliability in IT systems, but you need someone who is experienced to help guide you in details.