Small business owners have to wear a lot of hats, from handling core operations to managing staff members. It is easy to let IT concerns fall by the wayside, especially when making needed updates requires time and money. However, ignoring the need for business IT support costs far more in the long run than completing tasks on-time - and the true impact is often broader than the initial cash outlay required for repairs. Certain issues can be disruptive to customer service, while others can lead to the release of confidential data. These problems cause long-term damage to consumer trust. Some of the most commonly overlooked IT problems include these five issues:
Out-of-Date or Missing Virus Protection
Computers make contributions to every part of the business, from holding payroll information to operating machines. A virus has the potential to take your entire company offline. Failure to
purchase and update virus protection and related network security services means you are at risk of significant problems, from data theft to having your entire network held for ransom. Lost production is just the beginning if a virus infects your infrastructure. Repairing or replacing infected equipment can cause a serious strain on your budget. Worse still, you can pass viruses on to your customers, severely damaging your relationship with them.
A Rarely Updated Company Website
There was a time when having a website was rare and consumers didn't draw any conclusions from their lack of online presence. Today, most of your prospective customers do online research before calling for a quote or coming in to make a purchase. When your website is outdated - or you don't have one at all - you lose credibility. More importantly, you are invisible to your target customer base, which impacts sales.
Failure to Monitor Backups
Even if you do everything right, computer issues can wipe out your hard drive. Daily information backups prevent the loss of critical data. However, it is all too common for busy entrepreneurs to overlook backup and storage processes, which means that when technical failures occur, it can take weeks or months to recover.
You probably have a spam filter in place to protect your employees from annoying and irrelevant email, but that is just half the battle when it comes to spam defense. Data thieves can hijack your company email, making it appear that you are the spammer. It is bad enough if the message is simply embarrassing, but most of the time, there is a more sinister motive. Your business name may be used to pass viruses on to everyone listed in your contacts, irreparably damaging your reputation.
It only takes a single email and one less-than-vigilant employee to fall for a phishing scheme, and these schemes are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Without appropriate protections, your business could experience data breaches that leave you open to legal liability. For example, in 2016, several organizations - including technology powerhouse Seagate - were the victims of a phishing ruse that resulted in the release of thousands of employees' W2s. Employees have filed a class action lawsuit against Seagate for its failure to protect sensitive information.
Juggling the many responsibilities of running a small business can be challenging, but IT isn't a good place to cut corners. The impact of poorly maintained IT infrastructure can be costly, from the tangible expenses that come with cleaning up a mess to the intangible expenses related to loss of trust and a damaged reputation. Comprehensive information technology services offer customized solutions, simplifying the process of staying up-to-date with IT advances so you can focus on running your business.
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