Technology has become incredibly important for small businesses, even if their needs are smaller in scale. With so much of the world’s business being conducted online, no one can afford to be hampered by a bad technology setup. Of course, it’s not often easy for a small business to invest the money that is required for an ideal IT setup. That is why these five IT issues have become all too common among small businesses of all types.
1. Hiring Top-Tier People
One problem that many small businesses face is the fact that they cannot afford to hire the kinds of top-level IT people that they really need. There simply aren’t enough of these people to go around, mostly because we are talking about the very top level of a somewhat specialized field. Most of the best people get snatched up by larger corporations that can pay them a lot more.
Obviously, one way to deal with this problem is to simply pay your IT workers more money. However, small businesses cannot always afford to do that. In those cases, the use of a managed service provider is often helpful. By using outsourced technicians who work through a third-party company, it is possible to get top-level talent without paying a huge amount of money for their services.
2. Outdated Or Incompatible Technology Assets
Ideally, you should have the very best IT equipment when starting a business. This would include everything from desktop computers and laptops to servers, routers, and network hardware. If that sounds realistic to you, just do a little research on the price of top-quality IT gear. You will find that it might be a little bit above your price range as a small business owner. For the vast majority of small business owners, it is not realistic to get the very best.
As such, they will usually go with the best that they can find and/or afford. Slightly outdated equipment can often be purchased for low prices, providing an option that is attractive to many SMB owners when trying to slash the budget. Unfortunately, there is a whole host of problems that can come with this approach.
First of all, you will be using a hybrid approach, which means that your tech might not be fully compatible. If you are careful about what you buy, you can probably get things that are similar enough to work together. However, there is no guarantee. Maintaining a hybrid environment can be a significant challenge.
Further, that brings us to the problems of outdated tech. This kind of thing probably won’t be updated with security patches and bug fixes, which can be a definite weakness for both functionality and security purposes. Outdated tech is more likely to have known vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit, and those vulnerabilities probably aren’t going to be patched by the manufacturer.
3. Data Loss
Along with all the other IT equipment in which an SMB owner must invest, there is also data storage to be considered. A business must store a large amount of data for a number of purposes. These include tax reporting, accounting, and regulatory compliance. You must provide secure storage for that data, and that is easier said than done.
Data loss can occur for a number of reasons. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a hacker or some other sort of malicious criminal. Data loss often happens by accident when people delete the wrong files or use systems that they don’t understand. And, of course, machines will sometimes malfunction and cause data loss with no human error whatsoever.
A larger business can afford to invest a lot of money in preventing data loss, mostly by maintaining a regular backup system. When important data is backed up multiple times per day, the total amount of data loss that can occur is pretty small. However, it isn’t as common for small businesses to have those kinds of capabilities. As such, they are more vulnerable to data loss.
4. Lack Of Planning
Unfortunately, there are still a lot of small businesses that suffer from a distinct lack of strategic IT planning. Such a plan must be customized for each business, and small businesses often don’t have the right people to plan such things. If there were one universal way to do such a plan, we would just tell you. However, there is not.
There are certain principles that can be used to guide any strategic IT plan. First, you should start with something called a SWOT analysis. This stands for:
Any good plan should also include the goals to be accomplished, the method by which they will be accomplished, and the order in which they will be accomplished. There must also be a way to measure the success of the plan once it has been completed. For instance, you could use penetration testing to verify that your security is strong enough. Needless to say, these sorts of plans are often heavily focused on security. However, efficiency must also be considered a priority.
5. Cybersecurity Issues
There is no doubt that cybersecurity is a huge issue for all businesses, and small businesses are no exception. In fact, some studies indicate that small businesses are more likely to be attacked. This does make some sense because small businesses generally aren’t as well-protected as their larger counterparts. That is why they have to worry a lot about security, and why it should be considered in every IT decision that you make. Assuming that these figures are correct, 1 in 5 small businesses are hacked each year and about 60% of them go out of business as a result.
While we haven’t covered every possible IT issue that a small business might face, most of them will fall into one or more of these categories. Thus, it is good to bear these principles in mind from the start, so that you can create an IT situation that is both efficient and secure. If you would like to seek some help from a company that offers comprehensive and affordable IT solutions of many kinds, you can call PCH Technologies at (856) 754-7500.