by David Eisner
Today many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are putting green IT initiatives much higher on the priority list than ever before. In some cases, SMBs have dedicated budgets targeted for environmentally-conscious initiatives.
Regardless of where a small business is on green IT priorities, green strategies and practices are on the rise. These initiatives include lowering energy consumption, recycling or product disposal and managing the carbon footprint.
According to a recent CompTIA online study where 650 IT and business executives involved in green initiatives or strategies in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany were interviewed, more companies are, in fact, budgeting for green IT. Currently, one in five companies have a dedicated budget set for green IT programs; 44 percent say they are moving in that direction.
But for many SMBs, taking the steps to become more environmentally-conscious is still too far down on the priority list. Here are a few tips that will help SMBs save money and increase productivity while reducing its carbon footprint.
Cloud Computing and Virtualization:Rather than being bound to expensive, energy-consuming hardware, small businesses are housing their data and software applications remotely, on the ‘cloud.’ The ‘cloud’ is an array of processing and storage capacity managed by a remote host firm. This solution reduces or eliminates the need to purchase and maintain large-scale services and computers because data and software packages are available virtually and securely over the Internet.
Donate for Reuse:SMBs should consider making a donation of old and unneeded computer equipment to a computer recycling association. These associations will make the necessary repairs and upgrades and then deliver the refurbished devices to charitable organizations in their community. If any equipment is not sold or donated, it should be responsibly recycled.
Be Green and Recycle: Computers contain hazardous materials but also plenty of recyclable materials; consider recycling and do not toss them in the trash. Locate recycling centers on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (www.epa.gov) or Earth911 (www.earth911.com) websites. Each week, many tons of computer equipment is dumped into landfills.
Telecommuting:WorldAtWork Telemark Trendlines (2009) estimates that 20 to 30 million people currently work from home at least one day a week. Telecommuting saves money for both firms and employees and helps the environment by reducing pollution caused by commuting.
Power Management:Turning off idle IT equipment and utilizing virtualization technology are sure ways to save energy and go green. Consider making better use of existing equipment by running a 24/7/365 system such as email on an always-on a server, separate from software and data that does not require round-the-clock uptime.
With all the technologies available today, it is easier for small businesses to adopt green initiatives and meet the business demands for cost-effective, energy-efficient, flexible, secure and stable solutions while being environmentally responsible.
David Eisner is the founder, president and CEO of Dataprise Inc., a leading information technology managed services provider and systems integrator that solves the technology challenges of small and medium-sized businesses. For more information, visit www.dataprise.com.
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