As the owner of a small business, you’re likely wearing many hats and juggling various tasks for your company. This might even include IT duties, whether you’re an expert in the field or not.
But in this modern world, business technology is unavoidable. It helps companies with everything from communicating with clients to shipping their products to managing files.
As you navigate this high-tech world and guide your business to success, here are some common IT mistakes to avoid.
Using Outdated Technology
The quality of your technology directly impacts your company’s security risks. Older computers and outdated software are an easy target for hackers.
For instance, the infection rate for Windows XP is six times that of Windows 8. Another example is Microsoft Office 10, which will no longer receive technical support or security updates after October 2020.
As a business owner, you don’t need to break the bank, but ensuring your computer equipment and software are up to date can decrease the chances of a security breach.
Setting Up Weak Passwords
Using strong passwords – for everything from employee emails to accessing your business network – is another easy tool to lower your company’s security risk.
Leave out your beloved pet’s name and your spouse’s birthdate. Complex passwords including at least 16 characters and utilizing a mix of random numbers, letters, and symbols are the hardest for hackers to crack. Rather than letting your employees create their own, it’s best to use a password generator for these.
And remember, don’t reuse the same password between sites and don’t email them to yourself or your employees.
Poor Website Design
With so many drag-and-drop website builders out there, it’s tempting to save some money by designing your company’s site yourself. What could be easier, right?
The fact of the matter is, though, that you’re not a web developer, and no matter what, your end result will fall short of what a professional can create for you.
Bad websites are bad for business. Most users make snap judgments about your website within 50 milliseconds of landing on your page.
Since most first impressions of your business will be web design-related, it’s important to hire a professional that can create an attractive website that raises your credibility and instills confidence in potential customers.
These days, businesses face more cybersecurity challenges than ever. It’s a scary world out there, and as many as 43% of cyber-attacks are targetted at smaller businesses. What’s worse is that only 14% of these businesses are prepared to defend themselves.
And cyber attacks can cost big money. On average, they cost companies of all sizes, around $200,000 annually. An amount like that could put a smaller company out of business.
Even on a tight budget, there are easy, low-cost ways to beef up your security: regular software updates, installing anti-virus and anti-malware, and using a host-based firewall to control all traffic to and from your network. You’ll also want to routinely back up all computers and servers.
If you don’t have an internal digital security team, though, your best bet is to hire an IT management consultant who will know the best practices for keeping your company safe and in business.
Failing to Back Up Your Network
Whether done by human error, a computer crash, or a malicious virus, you’d be surprised by how easy it is to lose important files and other data integral to your company’s security and operations.
There are several ways to avoid a networking disaster by regularly backing up important information. You can store back-up data on a separate hard drive or another storage device that isn’t connected to your network. There are also many cloud-based storage options.
Set a regular schedule for back-ups, doing so daily, if possible. The more time elapses between back-ups, the more at risk of losing data you become.
Easily Avoid Common IT Mistakes by Hiring an Expert
It’s easy to fall into the trap of saving money when you can, including by handling IT issues on your own. But remember, you’re not a professional and might be doing more harm than good.
It’s true that there are plenty of tools available to help small business owners with their IT needs, but if you’re stumped by any issues you might encounter, don’t be afraid to call in an IT professional. They can easily assist you with any of the common IT mistakes small businesses make.
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