No matter how smart or innovative your small business is, you are bound to face tech problems from time to time. Many businesses struggle with their tech, and there are a few common problems that seem to arise over and over again. Here are some of the most common tech problems that small businesses face, along with what you can do about them.
1. Inefficient Security
Every business must take cybersecurity seriously. Don’t assume that you will not be a target of cyber criminals just because you run a small business – hackers often target smaller businesses because they know their security is often weaker.
Ransomware is big business. What would you do if your systems were taken over by hackers demanding a ransom to get back online? You need a secure network to protect your data and business files, as well as your customers’ data – you don’t want to be on the receiving end of a hefty fine for a data breach.
Be proactive by using high-quality anti-virus software, enabling your firewall and ensuring good password management. Train your employees in the best security principles as well. Make sure they do not open attachments from unknown sources and that they look out for phishing emails.
Don’t wait until you get hacked – get your security in order and protect your business from the criminals.
2. No Data Backups
This is related to the first issue. If you get hacked and lose all your data, what happens then? You could also lose your data in other ways, like in a fire, flood, by theft or even because of overloaded routers.
That’s why backups are so important.
With a good data backup strategy in place, losing your data won’t be anything more than frustration. But many SMEs don’t have a strategy – which could end up costing them a lot of money.
Make sure you have a solid disaster recovery plan in place. This not only means backing up your data regularly, but also knowing how to recover your data quickly – in hours rather than days. You might backup everything in the cloud, onsite or both. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and you need to consider all the options.
3. Outdated Hardware and Software
This is a big problem for many small businesses. Constant system failures, error messages, slow computers – we’ve all been there. It could be a problem with your hardware or software and it can severely affect productivity. It can also have a negative impact on your employees when they are constantly being frustrated by problems.
Invest in modern hardware and know what its lifespan is. Read up on the latest software solutions and get specialist advice to make sure you are using the right software for a specific task.
Remember that replacing hardware can cause integration problems. New technologies might not work with your older applications, and this is an area where an IT specialist can be invaluable.
4. Not Controlling Access to Data
This is another problem related to security. There are some things in your business that you don’t want everyone to access, such as sensitive files.
But if you don’t have a process in place to prevent access, your data could get into the wrong hands. For example, if an employee is leaving the business, you want to make absolutely sure they cannot continue to access your data.
One approach is to start by putting one or two people in charge of the data systems and reduce access to get more control over who has access to what. You need to equip your employees with everything they require to do their jobs properly but without giving them access to data, passwords and information they don’t need. A less is more approach is a pretty good strategy here.
5. Using Mobile devices
Bring your own device (BYOD) is growing in popularity, but it can bring problems for businesses. Personal devices can bring security risks and extra challenges surrounding confidential data. What if a device gets lost or stolen?
You can take a few simple steps such as making sure all devices are password protected and that the data is encrypted. Also consider installing trusted security apps and remote wipe features.
Ensure your employees all know what to do if they lose their devices, and that they let you know as soon as possible so you can take action, which might involve changing passwords or updating security.
6. No IT Plan
Many small businesses do not have any IT plan to speak of. What happens when disaster strikes? What steps are you going to implement over the next few years? Strategic planning is essential.
You need to work with your IT team or IT service provider to ensure they are able to accomplish crucial tasks. Make sure you plan for the future by aligning your business plans and tech plans.
Starting an IT plan can be quite complex. If you don’t have an IT specialist on your team, seek specialist help to put one together.
7. Lack of On-Site Experience
One of the biggest problems of all is a lack of IT experience on your team. Small businesses often cannot afford to hire full-time IT specialists, and while having no access to IT expertise may work for a while, when problems emerge, you can quickly become stuck.
You need regular maintenance to keep things running smoothly. That means having someone ready to assist you immediately when something goes wrong and preventing problems from occurring in the first place.
This is where managed IT services can help. This way, you don’t have to hire a full-time IT specialist, and you can simply outsource your IT to a team of experts.
8. Confusion About the Cloud
The cloud is here to stay, helping small businesses to improve security, cut costs and boost productivity. But confusion still reigns.
The cloud involves keeping data on a server in a remote location rather than, or in addition to, onsite. But choosing the right solutions can be complex, and you want to make sure you are getting the most value for money.
Security issues are also important, and many small businesses do not fully understand these. A specialist can help provide assistance and support with all your cloud computing needs.
9. Am I Overspending?
The IT budget is another problem area. Without specialist IT knowledge, it’s easy to be persuaded by marketing teams selling their latest and greatest products. But this can easily lead to overspending, which can have a big impact on your bottom line.
How do you know you are spending the right amount on your tech solutions? You can start by keeping a close eye on new products and the reviews to ensure you don’t invest heavily in an unsuitable solution.
Even better, speak to an expert. An IT support specialist keeps up with the latest info, and they will have the expertise to advise you on your situation.
Don’t Let IT Get in the Way of Your Business
Technology is here to help SMEs, and your small business no doubt relies on it to a large degree. So make sure you are getting the most out of it.
Too many small businesses face tech issues that can have a big impact on their productivity but can easily be resolved with the right solutions. At Dial A Geek, we have the expertise and IT support plans you need to reduce tech problems and maximise productivity, so give us a call and find out how we can help.ALL ARTICLES