We get it – when you’re juggling running your business, looking for new opportunities, keeping one eye on the competition and also trying to keep your employees happy and engaged, it’s easy to fall into a ‘set it and forget it’ attitude towards your organization’s IT. Doing so unfortunately means you’re probably not getting the best value from your tech, operating with needless inefficiencies, and putting your company at risk for a major security or downtime crisis.
If you’ve made any of the following typical small business tech errors, then the time to address them is now:
- Not making security a priority
- Leaving tech planning and upgrades out of your annual budget
- Failing to have a routine maintenance schedule in place
- Neglecting to choose software that can scale with you
- Not doing restore tests on your backups
- Inadequate staff training and education
- Not making security a priority
Too many SMEs assume that their small size will keep them out of the crosshairs of cybercriminals – but in reality, smaller businesses with their less-than-cutting-edge security protocols make an easy target. Besides affecting your company, a security breach can be devastating to your reputation when it affects your customers – something many small businesses simply won’t be able to recover from. Study up, make sure your staff get data security training, or reach out for help if you aren’t sure where your weaknesses lie and how to address them.
2.Leaving tech planning and upgrades out of your annual budget
Like it or not, things change quickly in the world of IT, and that means you will have to make upgrades and purchase new equipment from time to time. Getting into the habit of developing an annual technology budget can help you stay on top of what needs to be done when, and avoid nasty surprises. Start by doing a thorough inventory of your IT assets, identifying equipment or software that is becoming outdated. As a general rule of thumb, laptops and tablets should be replaced every 2 to 4 years, PCs every 3 to 5 years, and servers every 4 to 5 years, for example.
3.Failing to have a routine maintenance schedule in place
Just like your car, your IT infrastructure, hardware and equipment operate best when it’s maintained and adjusted on a regular basis. Make sure you bring a local IT firm in your area on board who understands this and will be able to make recommendations which offer long term value for money. If you’re based in Perth, for example, signing up for managed IT services which allows your provider to monitor your system remotely while offering all the benefits of a local firm and fixed pricing makes sense on several fronts.
4.Neglecting to choose software that can scale with you
Aside from the hassle and cost associated with having to switch from one kind of software to another because your business has outgrown it, learning how to use an entirely new and unfamiliar system can be time-consuming and frustrating for your employees too. Avoid this by always checking the scalability of software and apps before you commit to using them across your organization.
5.Not doing restore tests on your backups
The importance of backing up your data has been hammered across so thoroughly that there are now thankfully few successful businesses that don’t have at least the basics (such as a combination of a physical and cloud-based backup system) in place. What they tend to forget however is whether to test that those backups are actually working the way they’re supposed to – and that’s not the kind of thing you want to discover after the fact. Make sure to occasionally test your backup system by creating a file, deleting it, and checking that you’re able to restore it from your backup without any issues. Put it in your calendar so you don’t forget. You should also do a full system restore test from time to time.
6.Inadequate staff training and education
While proper training rarely comes cheap, errors by employees who haven’t received it can end up costing you a whole lot more. Educating every member of your staff on the dangers of malware and ransomware and what to be on the lookout for is essential. If you’ve forked out for new equipment or software, then get as much value out of it as you can by making sure your employees receive comprehensive training. The best tech in the world can’t help you grow your business if you don’t know how to use it.