Many small and medium sized businesses are overwhelmed with the day-to-day operations of production, finances, inventory and serving the needs of customers and employees. Staying on top of the latest technology can prove difficult, especially when systems are frequently upgraded and quickly become obsolete.
The result is often a “get by” attitude that leads to poor technology habits and decisions that can threaten the sustainability of even the most stable company.
In fact, computer network issues are a leading cause of downtime and costs the average organization more than $100,000 per hour. Take a look at these top 5 technology mistakes and bad habits to determine if your company is at risk:
1. Outdated Hardware and Software
Just when you purchase a piece of technology, it seems a newer, faster and more functional model comes on the market. The typical lifespan of most computers is about 2–5 years, but what’s not accounted for are the frequent system upgrades that are required during that time. Older software increases the likelihood of downtime and potential data breaches and, if not properly installed and maintained, even the best computer systems can be rendered obsolete and ineffective.
Increasingly, manufacturing equipment is designed to integrate with computer systems to monitor data, and some offices rely on project management software and specialized computer programs to streamline processes. Compatibility between these systems and existing software can be a gamble.
Something as simple as installing a new printer can create an IT crisis if outdated hardware isn’t compatible with the new. Assuring system compatibility so various equipment and software can “talk with each other” is critical to operations.
2. Inadequate Technical Support
Some employees at small to medium sized companies wear many hats, with “the tech guy” being among them. This person may be on the plant floor one moment and troubleshooting a front office computer glitch the next. If she or he can’t fix the problem, a call for technical support to the computer manufacturer may take place, or a visit from a big box store service department novice might be scheduled as a last ditch effort.
The National Small Business Association estimates that 40 percent of small businesses handle tech issues by themselves. This most often results in lost production time and, even more concerning, a potential loss of data if a system reinstall needs to occur. The investment in a knowledgeable technician that is “up” on the latest technology, upgrades, system interfaces and more will save a company time and money. Managed IT services can ensure you’ve got the hardware and software you need, that it’s proactively maintained, that licenses are up-to-date and that systems are monitored 24/7.
3. Inadequate Training
The capabilities of today’s systems far exceed what many businesses may need, but that functionality is of no value if employees are not properly trained.
Training employees consistently, timely and with the guidance of a managed IT service helps them feel more confident, productive and more satisfied in their jobs. In addition, the risk of damaging sensitive systems is reduced when employees understand the ins and outs, dos and don’ts.
4. Poor Backup Strategy
Knowing what information to back up is just as critical as knowing how to properly perform data backups. Many small to medium sized businesses still rely on inadequate in-house data storage on outdated systems. In fact, it’s estimated that only half of all tape backups restore successfully.
Using Cloud Services to store data can help ensure secure backups. Consult with a professional that will strategize to determine what data and information should be backed up. When you work with a reputable provider, you’ll also be assured they will always have the latest upgrades and backups of their own to protect your precious data.
5. Poor Security
Cyber attacks are not reserved for large corporations—nearly half of all victims are small businesses. If a data breach occurs, the lost time for implementing a disaster recovery plan and the investment to restore the integrity of systems typically adds up to thousands of dollars and potentially even more costly backlash from customers who’ve lost confidence in your company.
Implementing best practices and policies for employees is a must. Include procedures for securing passwords and wireless networks, properly updating software and antivirus measures, and deploying Internet and email usage guidelines. Your managed IT professional can help secure your data so you can focus on day-to-day operations.
Don’t let poor technology habits jeopardize your company and the livelihoods of its employees. Take measures today to overcome these potential pitfalls. Contact us today for a free consultation.