For a small- or medium-sized business, information technology (IT) is not normally what the business is in business for. This means that although computers can be instrumental in the success of your SMB, your SMB technology is often overlooked or not optimized to help you be as successful as you could be. In fact, when your IT is not working well, it can actually hinder your success and work against you. Businesses of all sizes deal with IT problems, and, although not everyone agrees on what the number one IT issue is for SMBs, there are some common IT issues of SMBs.
IT Issues of SMBs and How to Solve Them
Keeping SMB Technology Current
It is not surprising that one of the most common IT issues of SMBs is the maintenance of the IT sphere including keeping the IT systems and software updated. Computer use is integral to the business world on a daily basis. But IT systems and equipment are also delicate and, as any computer user knows, finicky, especially when it is older or lacks recent software updates.
It is easy to fall into a set-and-forget mentality that will eventually slow your SMB down and get in the way of maximized growth and productivity. In order for your IT systems to serve your SMB best, they must be maintained and kept up-to-date. Technology changes on a daily basis, and the systems employed by your SMB have to change to keep up.
If your SMB does not have the staff or budget to investigate, install, and maintain system and software updates and upgrades, consider managed services. Having an IT professional on contract to help you make informed decision about your IT systems and software can save you dollars down the road by keeping systems running smoothly.
SMBs Fail to Perform Regular IT Planning and Evaluation
Your SMB must have a clear business plan, which should also include long-term IT planning. A successful business has a clear business plan that it revisits regularly to modify and modernize in order to keep the business moving smoothly in the right direction. The same applies to SMB technology. Once your SMB begins using effective IT strategies, those strategies will continue to be effective only if they are analyzed and adapted for any changes the SMB is experiencing.
It is not uncommon for SMBs to focus on the effectiveness of their IT systems only once, when they first start using them. One of the key SMB IT challenges is to keep IT planning and evaluation on the to-do list to keep the business’s IT systems current and working optimally to help the SMB be successful.
SMBs often don’t have the budget to keep even one IT professional on the payroll. There are other options. Consulting an experienced IT professional to help anticipate the business’s future IT needs helps the SMB avoid surprises down the road. The SMB can plan and budget for changing demands on its IT systems over time, avoiding a last minute scramble to upgrade to remain competitive.
SMBs Wait Until IT Breaks
Not surprisingly, one common IT issues across all types of SMBs and user groups is the tendency to call for professional IT help only after something has gone wrong. Once something has degraded to the point that it has actually failed, your productivity may slow down, or it may even come to a complete standstill. The result of this break fix approach is often frustrated and unhappy employees, who depend on the IT systems to do their work, and frustrated and unhappy clients, whose work was not done.
SMBs could avoid these issues with a proactive approach to IT maintenance. Having an IT professional regularly check the functioning of your systems and software can help avoid unexpected work delays or stoppages caused by IT problems. IT professionals are happy to help you keep your IT systems running smoothly with check-ups arranged on an ad hoc or a managed services basis. Using managed services for small business further relieves the SMB of having to remember when to call for checkups and maintenance.
SMBs Often Have Inadequate IT Security
SMBs often they are too small for IT security to be a priority. Unfortunately, history has proved them wrong. The cyber attacks on small business have risen to the level that even Congress is taking action.
A small business may not even realize the multiple ways their system can be breached. The dangers range from simple but malicious emails sent to unsuspecting employees to direct hacks targeting a business’s network. Seemingly innocent and trustworthy emails can contain ransomware or a Trojan horse or try to trick you into revealing passwords.
Laptops, tablets, and mobile phones containing company information or merely having access to the company network can also be a point of entrance. And while the initial set-up of the SMB’s IT system may have included the best IT security of its day, new threats are continually appearing. SMBs are not always equipped to keep up with the threats and to know how to protect against them.
An IT professional keeps up with this information and is available to help your small business protect its systems and data. SMBs should regularly engage the services of an experienced IT technician to evaluate the security of the business’s systems and, if necessary, to install additional features to make the systems more secure. With a managed services approach, IT professionals are also available to monitor a business’s systems to take swift action if a breach or cyber attack were to occur.
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
Proactive IT planning and management can help every SMB. With IT evaluation and planning your business can budget for expected and unexpected expenses. With regular maintenance and adequate security your systems are much less likely to suffer from unexpected breakdowns or attack. But how do you achieve these goals?
If IT is not what your SMB does that is ok, because it does not have to. Instead, consider hiring a managed services provider to handle your small business IT issues. A managed services provider specializes in all things IT that your business needs but does not have the specialty to handle. It can identify what your business needs even if you did not know you needed it, and help you manage those things that you already know you need and use. The issues described here do not have to be the problems suffered by your SMB.
To avoid common SMB IT issues, call an IT professional to take care of your IT systems and let you do what you do best. ComTech Consulting, LLC, is ready to be your IT professional. For a consultation, a repair, or managed services, call ComTech at (304) 720-8491 or email us at Sales@ComTechSBS.com. We’re waiting to help you stay productive.