Running a business is a time consuming job. The last thing you need are ‘spanners in the works’ that slow down your day and cost you in terms of productivity. There are many organizations out there of all sizes that take a “let’s hope for the best” approach when it comes to IT problems such as those mentioned below:
Fast, reliable business broadband is essential for the day-to-day functioning of millions of businesses worldwide. Slow broadband can be caused by a number of different factors including poor network configuration and below par service providers.
If you allow the issue of slow broadband to rumble on, it will not only affect productivity, but also the morale of your staff.
Viruses and malware
Viruses and malware can have a wide range of impacts from the inconvenient right through to the completely devastating. There are a number of ways they can get into your IT system, from employees bringing them in on memory sticks, to not having a secure firewall installed on all your hardware.
If you’re lucky, an attack might only take a couple of hours to put right. If you’re less fortunate, your business can grind to a complete standstill for days.
Not every business owner has the spare capital to invest in new IT equipment. The question you should be asking yourself is “can I afford to keep the status quot?”.
Outdated hardware can often run so slowly it makes things frustrating and almost impossible for your employees. In some cases, it could just be that the hardware is genuinely past its best, but it could also be due to the amount of memory being taken up by unnecessary software and files.
Whatever the cause, you’re sure to lose money because of poor productivity, so doing nothing could prove to be a false economy.
Having no clear guidelines in place
Do all your employees know exactly what they can and can’t do when it comes to computer usage in your organisation? For example, are they forwarding on potentially harmful emails to other departments? Are they downloading games onto their PCs on their lunch breaks? Do they understand the potential effects of bringing in a memory card from their home PC?
IT guidelines will take time to put together, but once you’ve done it, all your staff will know exactly where they stand.
From basic things such as employees not being able to connect to the printer closest to their desk, right through to not being able to install new hardware properly so everyone in the office can use it, network problems can be a real drain on your time.
If you don’t have a dedicated IT person, a network issue could result in one of your non-qualified employees “having a go” because they feel they should try to help. Unfortunately, in these situations, the person trying to assist can often make things worse as well as wasting hours of their time.
Insufficient security measures
Believe it or not, there are still businesses out there with unencrypted databases containing sensitive information. Hackers employ a wide range of sophisticated methods to try to steal things such as credit card details and other personal data.
If your security measures are out-of-date, you could be leaving the door open for a cyber attack that could damage your reputation beyond repair.
Lack of in-house expertise
Many smaller businesses don’t have the financial resources to employ a full-time IT manager. In many cases, there may be an enthusiastic employee who likes ‘messing around’ with computers who assumes the role by default.
There are good reasons why companies either employee their own in-house IT staff or outsource to a local managed services provider. Can you really expect someone to be your IT caretaker and keep up with latest technologies, understand network and hardware problems, fix email server issues and a lot more when they already have another role within your business?
It may seem a cheaper option to let an existing staff member take care of your IT, but when something catastrophic happens, like it so often does, you’ll soon realize that person’s limitations.
Poorly performing software
Software is another potential source of IT headaches for your business. When it comes to investing in the right packages, people often make big mistakes. The end result could be a system your employees find difficult to use and that doesn’t integrate properly with other software you already use.
It’s always wise to take independent advice on the software needs for your business; otherwise you could end up with something that actually costs your business time and money rather than saving it.
Data backup mishaps
Your business may have a system in place to automatically backup and remotely store data at set intervals such as at the end of every day or week.
The problems arise when one of your employees goes onto auto-pilot too and doesn’t check if the backups are completing correctly. No method of backing up data is fool proof, so if you’re relying purely on automated data backups, it’s a good idea to periodically store another one in a separate location.
No data recovery measures
If the worst happens and some crucial data is corrupted during backup, do you have a procedure in place for trying to recover it? Even if you do, have you a reasonable idea of how much time and money it will take to carry out the recovery task?
Adopting a purely reactive approach to your company’s IT can lead to a lot of unnecessary expense and lost productivity.
These are just 10 of the major IT headaches that can affect a business at any time. The worse thing about them is they usually happen without any prior notice and can cost a business time and money in lost productivity.
Taking chances with your organization’s IT requirements is a risk that could backfire badly.
About the Author
AllTasksIT is a specialist IT consultancy, support and managed services provider in Melbourne, Australia – www.alltasks.com.au