In the past few months on this blog I’ve been talking a lot about the opportunity for SME growth and the technology services that they can employ to manage that growth correctly and protect the business they have. It’s encouraging to see many SMEs follow this advice and oversee their business expansion diligently, however it’s also clear that there are still common IT problems that companies run in to, which can negatively affect growth.The good news is that most of these problems are preventable. By applying a mixture of forward-thinking and common sense, these IT traps can be avoided and your business can continue to flourish. Here are my top ten potential pitfalls to look out for:
1. Not refreshing your technology: It may feel that you’re bombarded with advertising telling you that you need to upgrade technology, but the simple fact is that most new technology will be more energy efficient, cost less for repairs and be cheaper to operate. Investing for the future counts.
2. Having poor internal support: Don’t leave your technology issues to the person in the office who ‘knows a bit about computers’, invest in properly trained IT personnel to save on costly external solutions.
3. Security policies aren’t up to scratch: How well is your network protected? Does your security go beyond just having a password for your email? The dangers of network infiltration, malware and data theft are well documented for large companies, but can affect SMEs too. Make sure your security is up to date!
4. Archiving irregularly: Backing-up is a crucial part of any company’s IT infrastructure and cannot be overlooked or performed in a haphazard way. Make sure your data is safe and recoverable with regular back-up.
5. Having the right software licences: SMEs often overlook the fact that software licences need updating. Without up-to-date licences you can miss out on important updates and technical support!
6. Protection from viruses and spam: Viruses continue to proliferate online and while spam levels may have dropped in the past few years, both still represent a danger to any business. Make sure your business’s tools are up-to-date and ready.
7. Internal use policy: Very often, employees can treat an office computer like their own personal device. This can lead to all kinds of software being installed outside of work parameters that can negatively affect performance. Make sure your internal policies closely manage work technology use.
8. Checking your wireless security: The potential problems caused by unauthorised access to a wireless network is large, from data vulnerability to hijacking of your net connection. Make sure your wireless is properly secure.
9. Not having the right training: Many SMEs could feel real benefits from having their staff properly trained in using software products instead of assuming they know how to operate programs or having staff waste time self-learning.
10. Protection out of the office: Given the increase of working from home and out of the office, many companies find themselves owning technology that is often on the road. Make sure your equipment is correctly protected, with adequate working cover.