6 Technology Issues Common to Small Businesses
Small businesses always struggle finding the appropriate IT solutions to keep their operations running and their data safe.
In this article, we will dive into the most common six IT problems that small and medium sized businesses struggle with, such as successfully replacing outdated technology by integrating new devices and software, backup and disaster recovery problems, root causes that aren’t addressed on type or appropriately, constant IT security risks, lack of an IT strategy and the most common one – negligent use of technology by employees.
1. Integration Issues
As new technologies and software are developed, business need to adapt by acquiring and implementing into their operations these new technologies. However, the implementation process can pose a series of risks.
First, new technologies might cause disruptions when connected with older technology systems. Second, they may require extensive research to be used correctly, which may lead to time being consumed searching for information across the internet, and the overall process can become very meticulous.
Third, having a clear IT Strategy and taking the time to examine and evaluate the current and new equipment can dramatically help reduce these issues.
2. Backup and Disaster Recovery problems
Server crashes, power disruptions, malfunctions, compromised operating systems or hardware, cyber-attacks or simply deleting file via human error, will genuinely teach us about the necessity of having a reliable back-up plan. Having a back-up solution will save your data when (not if) these unfortunate events occur.
Research has shown that data loss is one of the expensive errors businesses can make, noting that a loss of nearly 100 pieces of data (files) can make your company lose between £15,000 and £40,000, on average.
To avoid all of these troubles, businesses opt for modern cloud-based data back-up with multiple layers of security, which has proven to be essential in preventing loss of data, and of course, loss of capital.
A typical disaster recovery plan should involve:
- An IT Support partner that your business can rely on, whenever it’s necessary
- Back Up servers
- Cloud Servers
- External Storage (other computers, external hard drives or USBs)
- A well structured and outlined emergency recovery plan – this should be part of your IT Strategy
3. Root causes that aren't addressed
Companies that lack their own IT Department or do not hire an IT partner to rely on, may not be able to address some of the common tech issues they may encounter.
Having your own IT partner or department means that they will collect data and look trends to identify problems in your operations, get them solved and ensure your business is working smoothly.
Your hardware and software technologies require constant maintenance tests and updating, to ensure they work properly and secure. By addressing the root causes of existing problems, business can also avoid future hurdles.
4. IT Security Risk
As technology has advanced, so did the hackers. More than 80% of companies that have their systems hacked are typically small and medium sized enterprises.
Hackers simply don’t care nor they discriminate when it to whom they may target, as they are constantly looking for data and sensible information (social, financial, political affiliations) in order to resell it or gain leverage over institutions and companies. When it comes to small businesses, they are a particular attraction for hackers as they assume these businesses are not well protected due to a lack of cyber-security policy.
Network Security is something to be proactive about, as it’s one of the most important aspects that involves your business and staff’s safety.
To ensure that at least on a fundamental level your company is somewhat safe, it would be wise to train and educate your employees on cyber risks and security, as well as enabling a firewall to protect from digital viruses and be very considerate of change passwords every couple of months.
5. Lack of an IT Strategy and Reliable Solutions
Business leaders many times look at the big picture and envision a pathway to success, however, some of the times, they are inconsiderate of the technological tools or risks that can either improve their company’s performance or diminish it. The truth is, business leaders are typically conservatives (mostly for good reasons) and traditionally disconnected when it comes to new technologies. This is one aspect of business that requires an IT department or partner. The technology of tomorrow can put out of business many big name enterprises of today, and therefore their leading executives must constantly rely on their IT department to stay ahead of the technological race.
To overcome problems and limitations, the existence of an IT plan or strategy is also necessary – the use of data research, goal setting, security, performance and KPIs measurement and optimisation of current technology (hardware or software).
Outsourcing your company’s IT needs is certainly a big move to make that takes careful consideration and planning. Becoming educated and more familiar with managed IT services significantly benefits your business in more ways than one.
Managed IT services saves your employees time, saves your business money, provides you with remote monitoring for a safer network, brings subject matter experts, and even gives you access to more customizable services.
6. Negligent Employees
Probably unknown to most business leaders and executives, a significant amount (48%) of data breaches, hacks, virus and malware infections area due to employees being negligent on how they use work computers and technology.
There are few main reasons as to why these issues occur:
- Weak passwords
- Unauthorised access to information
- Phishing attacks
- Accessing questionable content and web pages
To minimise such risks, it is ideal to create a clear hierarchical structure on what responsibilities and privileges your staff have in regards to using work technology (work computers, phones, tablets).
Whilst developing an in-house IT department is unachievable by most small and even medium sized companies, hiring a managed IT service provider (MSP) is quite affordable for any company. Outsourcing your managed IT services doesn’t mean breaking the bank, but it can actually be a cost-effective business move.
Furthermore, having a managed IT service provider to calibrate your business IT solutions means that the rest of your staff will be free to focus on their daily workflow and less on having to manage IT in-house problems. It also means that their computers and technologies are safe, as one of the main duties that an MSP has to fulfil, is to monitor and assist all business operations that rely on IT – email, data storage, server and network security, maintenance, software updates and installations, web hosting, so much more.
Business owners who want to stay ahead of technology issues in business should enlist the professional IT services of MSP and help prevent issues before they occur and manage developing situations immediately to mitigate security risks.