Business owners expect a lot when it comes to technology. Everything from computers and smartphones to broadband connections and software solutions are taken for granted when they work, and vilified when they don’t.
As someone who’s provided business IT support for many years, I’ve witnessed this firsthand on countless occasions. I’m not seeking sympathy, but it’s pretty thankless work! IT systems often have many layers of interconnection and complexity that the average user has no interest in learning about.
With that in mind, this article explains ten things many new businesses do that make things far more difficult than they need to be—both for themselves and for the people tasked with supporting their tech.
When it comes to computers, it’s often the case that businesses can get away with certain shortcuts—for a while. As I often say to clients, “It won’t go wrong until it does.” But there are various things you can do to minimize the chance of disruptive system failures and data breaches.
1. Choosing equipment purely based on cost
In my first few years in business, I spent a lot of time researching “cheap” laptops for startups. I have far less patience for this false economy nowadays.
Obviously, many new businesses are bootstrapped and operating on a shoestring. But going out looking for mission-critical equipment with “cheapest” as a priority is shortsighted and unwise, and one of the most common technology mistakes new businesses make.
The cheapest equipment out there isn’t designed for business use. It doesn’t come with suitable warranties or support provisions, and it’s rarely made with ergonomics or build quality at the top of the list. The old adage of “Buy cheap, buy twice” is very relevant here.
Small business personnel spend thousands of hours in front of computers. For many, a computer is the tool of the trade; it is the one thing to not skimp on. There are leases and credit deals available on IT equipment if your budget is tight.
Companies will do everyone a favor—especially themselves—if they buy computers that are properly suited to regular heavy business use.
2. Assuming data loss won’t happen to them
Trying to make people realize the importance of backups is a frustrating endeavor. However, there’s one demographic that always prioritizes backups: the people who’ve actually experienced a significant data loss incident and had to deal with the fallout.
Ensuring against data loss isn’t something you can place entirely in the hands of the IT team. Data needs to be in the right place so that it’s backed up. Furthermore, there may be a manual task to complete, from kicking off a regular backup to plugging in or swapping a drive over in the office.
3. Allowing unrestricted BYOD (bring your own device).
Another of the most common technology mistakes that companies make is allowing staff to use their own laptops and devices on the office network with no controls in place. This is particularly common in “young” startups, where everybody is reasonably tech savvy.
To be clear, plenty of big companies allow BYOD, but they do so with rules and restrictions.