The small business Owner wears a lot of hats. Simply ensuring your clients are happy and employees are paid usually requires most of your time. It’s completely understandable that IT best practices are not high on the priority list. However, there are a few recurring IT mistakes we’ve noticed that can be easily addressed or avoided:
Sharing passwords – This is commonplace for a lot of smaller companies. Everyone knows everyone else’s password. This usually happens because of the relaxed atmosphere in smaller companies. Jill is out of the office, and Bob needs that spreadsheet on Jill’s computer so he calls her and she gives him her computer login to print it out. This practice makes it impossible to audit employee access to company data. In addition, passwords are rarely changed when employees leave the company which leaves a gaping hole in your network.
Not backing up your data properly – By now you should know the importance of having a good backup. It’s not enough to rely on the word of your IT provider. You should have test restores of your data completed on a routine basis, or receive backup job completion emails. Also, if you are just backing up your data only, then you will need backup hardware or a BDR system to restore the data to in case of a hardware failure.
Not having an IT budget – Hardware fails or becomes obsolete, spyware infections are going to occur. You don’t have to be caught off guard when these issues arise. Talley your IT expenses from last year (hardware, software, licensing, IT support) so you have a baseline for your IT costs. Consider Managed IT Services to help budget your computer support expenses. Survey the hardware in your company to determine which equipment needs to be replaced this year. It doesn’t have to be time consuming, and will save you a lot of headaches when the unexpected happens.
Making your Office Manager the “office IT guy” – Most small businesses have designated the Office Manager, or someone who is perceived to have the most computer knowledge to be the “office IT guy”. While this may seem to make since at first glance, there are some not-so-hidden expenses involved. You will inevitably have to pay to have your IT provider fix their mistakes. Secondly, I’ve yet to meet an employee who is excited to be the “office IT guy”. They usually are stressed by the added workload and spend less time doing the work you actually hired them to do.