Five Biggest SMB Technology Mistakes


The five biggest mistakes small business owners make with technology

In today’s world of technology, with its accelerating rate of change, it can be hard to do things in the best way.  Do you point and click or touch and tap, scroll or flick and how about zoom in-zoom out vs. pinch and spread?  When you need to send a document do you fax it or send it as an attachment?

This is one reason why many small business owners occasionally have one of those days.  The kind where every thing just seems to go wrong.  Like the day when the new employee stood before the paper shredder looking confused. “Need some help?” the owner asked. “Yes,” she replied. “How does this thing work?” “Simple,” the owner said, taking the fat report from her hand and feeding it into the shredder. Employee: “Thanks, but where do the copies come out?”

Training:

Skipping important user training in your office can result in forehead slappers like this. Not training your staff how to operate your business technology, including both hardware and software is a mistake small business owners sometimes make when trying to save time and money. But time-saving, higher-level features on a new business software application may never be used by your employees if they are not trained in their use, causing your business to forgo the time and cost savings these advanced features provide.

Maintenance:

Attending to small problems in a timely manner makes it less likely that those small problems will lead to full-spectrum disaster for your business. “Get it and forget it” may be great for flu shots, but it does not work with your business hardware or software applications. Business technology needs routine maintenance and adjustment, and this applies to both hardware and software. If you don’t have check-ups and tune-ups on your car, or if you don’t go to the doctor occasionally for a physical, you know the results could be disastrous.

The same applies to your computer network and the software you run on it. Servers, for example, require continuous care so that they operate properly. It is just as important for your computer network to get regular check-ups as it is for you to visit the doctor at regular intervals to make sure small problems can be addressed quickly before they become life-threatening. It is important to run regular system, anti-virus updates, create “restore points” and do regular back-ups  You also should clear browser caches, delete old email and run disk defragmenter and disk clean-up on a regular basis.

Backing Up:

A third mistake small business owners sometimes make is having faulty or non-existent back-up procedures. Data loss due to failure to back-up essential data is one of the most important contributors to small-business failure. 93% of small businesses that experience a major IT system crash and accompanying data loss go out of business within the next five years. This is not just because the computer crashed. It is because of the time-consuming and expensive process of data recovery and the loss in revenue and worker productivity during the subsequent downtime.

But even having a back-up system is not much protection against catastrophe if it is not regularly tested to see if it in fact backs up data as promised. At least once every two months the back-up mechanism needs to be tested. A complete data restore needs to be done to be sure the back-up is working properly. If this is not done, small business owners may be in for unpleasant surprises when real system failure occurs, and back-up systems are found to be non-functional.

Security:

Common mistake number four is skimping on security. Many small business owners fail to understand that they may be targets of cyber attack. They do not see the threats that exist if their system is not kept secure. IT professionals say it is not at all uncommon for a small business’s accounting data to be readily accessible on the internet. One tech reported seeing criminals use unused, but accessible, network access points to hack into security camera footage, in order to plan a robbery of a small establishment.

Security has become the number one issue for small and medium-sized business owners, and with the proliferation of consumer devices in the workplace, their systems have never been more vulnerable. Unprotected PC’s can become infected within minutes of being hooked up without proper precautions. (BBC) Data can be stolen, and if used for illegal purposes, can become a legal liability for the unsuspecting business owner who left his data unprotected. In some areas, large fines could be imposed and the victims liable for damages.

If you are not absolutely positive that your business data is safe and secure, that a threat assessment has been done and reasonable measures taken in the way of patch management, anti-spam and virus control, firewall protection and even encryption for sensitive data, you need to get help. If you take one thing away from this article, please take away the knowledge that you must make sure you protect the information stored on your system.

Qualified Support:

Not turning to a genuine IT professional when necessary is another mistake some small business owners make. Optimizing your major technology purchases and maintaining your hardware are tasks that you would be wise to leave to a qualified, accredited professional. Although a friend, relative or co-worker might be able to load a new application, more complicated tasks require greater experience and skill.  To set up a newly purchased system the right way, getting rid of viruses and spamware, or overcoming a complex technological challenge call for an experienced professional.

An IT professional can set up remote monitoring to fix problems proactively so they don’t end up disrupting your business. Some IT business support companies offer this service as well as network administration and help desk service. Occasionally an IT managed-services company will also offer VCIO service to help you plan ahead for technology purchases that will enhance your business and grow profits.

At Clear Focus IT we offer full-spectrum IT support and managed services. Check out our website at www.ClearFocus-IT.ca

 

© 2012 Clear Focus IT