You may have heard that around half of new businesses fail during their first year. While this isn't exactly true, there are still many mistakes small businesses make that can cost them.
Running a successful small business in Boise is no small task, and IT is one area where you want the best of the best. Having a reliable IT support team can make or break your business.
We can help you avoid costly blunders with this guide on common IT mistakes to avoid.
1. Poor Security Software
Having insufficient security measures in place or outdated hardware is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
Not only do old computers take longer to boot, but they're also slower when it comes to running processes. Plus, old software is more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
Why? One of the most important features of newer software is the patches and bug fixes that protect your computer. Regular software updates keep you shielded from hackers and cybercriminals.
Did you know 43% of cyberattacks are directed towards small businesses? Only 14% of those businesses can defend themselves, leading to data breaches and unhappy customers.
Don't become a statistic. Make sure you're keeping up with technology and never neglect software updates.
Using an IT service can help protect your business from common cyber threats. One of the most common services offered is device management, which helps ensure all your equipment is patched and secure.
2. Failing to Communicate
Do you have a clear line of communication between yourself, your IT team, and your employees? Are you making sure everyone understands your requirements and rules?
Lack of communication can lead to inadequate security measures for your small business. For instance, have you communicated your goals clearly with your IT company? If you're not open and honest with your IT team, you won't get all the support you need.
When using IT managed services, make sure you know how to reach them if anything goes wrong. The company you choose should have a clear communication policy.
You also have to ensure that you're communicating with your employees. What do they need to know about your IT solutions, and how does it impact them?
3. Having the Right Password Policy
Chances are that you have a strong password policy in place for your employees. No one wants to get hacked for having a password like "password" or "123456."
Companies put a password policy in place to avoid security risks. But even if your team isn't using the most commonly hacked passwords, you could still be hurting your company with your policy.
A password policy should be a "Goldilocks" scenario — not too lenient and not too strict.
If you're too strict with your password policy or require employees to change a password too often, it can backfire. Employees often write down their passwords on paper so they can remember them. If they lose their sticky note, or someone sees their password, it becomes a security risk.
A better solution may be to use a business password manager, which creates hard-to-hack passwords and keeps them in encrypted storage. It also saves time by using a master password, so it's a win-win.
Two-factor or two-step authentication is also an excellent step for your company to take.
4. Forgetting to Back-Up Data
If you lost all your business and personal data right now, would you be able to restore it? One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make is not backing up their data.
Imagine losing thousands of files and other data in the event of an unforeseen disaster. For many small businesses, it would be difficult to recover from a scenario like this.
Using cloud-hosting services can help put your mind at ease. If you do lose data, it's securely stored and backed up in the cloud.
5. Not Enough Employee Training
Many businesses forget that a big part of security boils down to what your employees do. Are you ignoring the human element of the security equation?
For example, employees could write down their passwords on a sticky note or remove the password requirement from their business phone.
If they don't have any experience with IT, and the common dangers of making mistakes like these, you may have to break things down in training.
Teach everyone how to create strong passwords and urge them to never share these, even among their co-workers. Employee education should also include teaching them about phishing and identity theft.
6. Using a Paper System
Does your small business rely on a paper system? If you have files upon files in storage filled with invoices, patient files, resumes, or other sensitive information, you may be putting your business at risk.
Overall, it's safer to use a digital system because digital files can be encrypted, which makes them unreadable to anyone that shouldn't be looking at these files. Going paperless also means it's easier for you to back up that information.
Plus, transferring these files to a digital format makes it easier to search for specific information.
Industries in healthcare and finance are most at-risk for getting hacked since they have so much sensitive information. If you're in one of these industries, it's time to seriously consider going digital.
That isn't to say the switch to paperless will be easy, but an experienced IT team can help you through the process.
7. Having No Mobile Device Strategy
Do your employees have a password on their company phones? What if they lose their phone; is your data protected?
Imagine one of your employees losing their work laptop or phone. If that device isn't properly secured with a password, anyone could access company information.
It happens more than you might think.
Using mobile devices while on-the-go may boost productivity, but you must have a mobile device strategy in place. Doing so prevents employees from making critical security blunders, like leaving their device at a public table while they go to order a coffee.
Avoid These Common IT Mistakes
If you want your small business to succeed, you must take security seriously. Avoid making any of these common IT mistakes by reconsidering your IT strategy.
Do you need help getting started? Reach out to us today to discuss your goals.