You believe in the future – now prepare for it
If you are lucky enough to obtain a license to operate in the cannabis space, planning for the future is essential. This applies to all areas of your business, but one area that could save you a lot of money and trouble in the long run is your technology infrastructure.
Hunter S Thompson
An optimistic mindset
As a community, we lobby because we believe in the importance of cannabis legalization and that it will happen, first at the state and then at the federal level. We watch anxiously as our government considers our livelihood and, through the fog, see a day where the SAFE Banking Act passes. We do all of this while hoping that by educating those around us, the stigma associated with this plant can be corrected and that its vast benefits can be realized for the general public. We are dreamers, we are entrepreneurs, we are doers and planners. As you acquire your license and start to build the technology infrastructure for your business, you should have that same optimistic mindset.
The ultimate goal is federal legalization Sounds great, doesn’t it? Nationwide legalization will bring a lot of benefits for growers, cultivators, manufacturers, and retailers, but it will also come with added regulation and responsibility. That’s not to say that the states haven’t already put requirements in place for tracking the seed-to-sale process. But with federal legalization, you will be thrown into the full-blown world of regulatory compliance. Both medical and adult-usage businesses will have a lot to consider. HIPAA and PCI compliance are tricky and have the potential to become very expensive if the proper procedures are ignored or improperly implemented.
Make compliance your competitive advantage.
IT is an investment, but an investment that over time proves to be a wise one. If you truly believe in where this industry is moving, then you should set yourself up with the future in mind. Having to revamp your infrastructure once federal legalization occurs will be far costlier than prudent infrastructure planning now, and unnecessary if you put the proper pieces in place today. You need to design and implement a network that is at the level expected for a HIPAA or PCI compliant company – because soon you will be one.
Technology infrastructure will be one of the building blocks of your successful businessWhat does this mean? The main thing is not to cut corners. This can be hard for a young business, but failure to secure your IT environment can lead to expensive consequences. For example, being locked out of your files because of a ransomware attack, or worse, theft and sharing of stored private information. Many states have regulations and penalties in place for data protection and at the federal level, they are severe. In fact, a 2018 study showed the average cost of a data breach to be $3.86 million. The impact both on your reputation and finances can be devastating.
Reactive and proactive IT support
A good MSP will not only perform reactive maintenance but will also be looking at your environment as a whole, making proactive recommendations to ensure you are getting the most functionality and security out of your technology. Providing education on the latest threats can also help you avoid becoming a victim. You need someone who can be a trusted advisor, providing a strategic plan for growth and success through constant improvements and adjustments.
It is easy to start your business and simply “do what needs to be done." It's hard to blame you for putting your head down and focusing on the here and now. But this is the time to listen to that voice that convinced you to be a part of this industry in the first place. Clearly you believe in the future – now prepare for it.