Small-to-medium sized businesses (SMB’s) now have access to a wealth of sophisticated software solutions that in previous years may have been too costly for them to implement. It is important for these businesses to utilise these software solutions to be able to compete in today’s modern marketplace, and also to protect their businesses from potential security threats.
Here at Amitech IT, we have identified several common IT challenges that SMB’s face, which can lead to slow business productivity or cause a detrimental IT security breach.
1) Keeping old technology for too long
Whilst keeping old technology might be saving you money in the short-term, the longer you keep it, the more costly it could be for the future. Older technology is often no longer supported or updated, meaning that security fixes are no longer applied, which can put your business at significant risk of cyber-attacks. Whilst many SMB’s believe cyber attackers won’t bother hacking into their systems, this isn’t the case as they’re often seen as ‘easy targets’. In fact, there are around 65,000 attempts to hack small-to-medium sized businesses every day (CSO Online, 2020).
2) Focusing on the cheapest options
The cost of IT solutions often gives an idea of the quality those solutions offer. Whether your business is seeking a new software solution or an outsourced IT support provider, don’t base your decision solely on price. Really think about what your business needs and the level of service and support you require. Choosing a solution that is right for your business will be better in the long-run compared with having a poor quality solution with a poor level of service at a lower cost to the business.
3) No evaluation method for adopting technology
When adopting new technologies into your business, you should have a formal selection process. By identifying criteria to measure the suitability of potential new software and systems, your business will be able to source the best technology to meet your business needs. Without this method of evaluation, your business may be stuck with unsuitable technologies that are more of a hinderance than a help.
4) Lack of staff training to identify potential cyber-security threats
Because many cyber-attacks begin with phishing emails, it’s highly important to train staff to identify these kinds of communications as early as possible. With the sophistication of technology available, it can often be difficult to detect a phishing email from a genuine email. However, there will be certain signifiers to help users distinguish between the two. These can include the email address it was sent from and the quality of content within the email, which can both be indicators of whether an email is a phishing attempt.
5) Not backing-up data
Every business needs to back-up their data, no matter how small that business is as the risks far outweigh the cost. Regularly backing-up data is a critical element of any disaster recovery plan, and without it, your business will be highly vulnerable. It’s not only potential cyber-attacks that could put your data at risk, but also disgruntled employees, human error, system failures, and natural disasters. Businesses have a choice on how to back-up their data, whether that’s through having physical servers, storing your data in the cloud, or a hybrid of the two. It’s generally best practice to speak to an IT specialist to help you decide which option will better suit business needs.
6) Entrusting IT to one person
Entrusting IT to a single person can potentially cause a variety of difficulties for a business. If that person went on holiday, called in sick, or left the business, would your business still be able to run as normal? Another consideration to take into account would be that one IT person may not have all the specialist technical knowledge your business needs to undertake large projects or fix every issue employees may have, so you might need to source an external IT provider to help, which will come at an additional cost.
7) Associating personal technology with business technology
Personal hardware technologies such as tablets, laptops, and home computers aren’t really designed for business use, mainly because they don’t have the necessary infrastructure required. Business technologies are generally more robust, are able to hold much more data and information, and can more easily meet installation requirements for certain pieces of software (such as account management systems). Whereas personal hardware would likely crash if anything too sophisticated was to run on it.
Whilst these are 7 common challenges SMB’s face, this list is not exhaustive. It’s important for SMB’s to identify if they’re facing any of these challenges, so they can be rectified as soon as possible.
Alternatively, if you’re unsure as to whether your business is utilising the right IT systems and strategies, you can contact a trusted local IT support company who will be able to offer their advice and help develop your IT strategy.