Cutting IT Corners Can Cost Small Businesses Big Bucks

We get it. You’re a go-getting, take-charge business owner/leader who appreciates saving money because small businesses have thin margins and lean operations. You’ve built your business’ success on not over-spending. You’ve had to DIY a lot of roles in your company and IT is one of those. But, unfortunately, technology is one area where DIY efforts or trusting that “son of an employee who does a lot of online gaming” can actually cost you quite a bit more in the long run.

We’ve compiled a list of mistakes to avoid when shaping your company’s technological future.

1. Inadequate IT support

Often, organizations go without technical support and rely instead on an office “computer geek” or someone an employee knows “who has worked with computers a lot.” Sometimes, companies turn to a phone support line for the manufacturer of whatever equipment needs help. Maybe you’ve even used a student or someone who provides service “on the side” of his or her normal career.

These inefficient means of handling IT spell trouble for companies for many reasons. Small businesses need knowledgeable, streamlined, strategic service to avoid downtime because downtime is lost revenue. Plus, with a hodge-podge of technology solutions, your time is spent searching for remedies when something breaks instead of what you’re meant to be doing like running the business.

2. Thinking IT Installations are a One-Time Event… They Really are a Much Longer Process

For some business services like pest control or catering, you can just write a check and forget about it after it happens. Technology isn’t as simple as having someone come out, install a product, hand over a training manual and that’s it. While IT is all about creating efficiency, there is rarely a one solution unicorn that cures all problems. The process of coordinating systems to work together and then properly document each nook and cranny takes time to achieve.

Be sure and work with a reputable IT provider or professional to hash out the plan for installing and integrating any new product. For the future of your business, it will matter how much thought goes into the purchase and implementation because additions down the road will have to assimilate.

3. Illegal Software

This may be one of the biggest and most widespread technology issues for small businesses. Not only is it illegal to possess and run on pirated software but organizations are seeing more and more security troubles arise because of it. Plus, missed updates to said software can wreak havoc on your data security.

It can certainly be difficult to understand the differences between license requirements for software and, often, organizations don’t understand that they don’t “own” a program even when they do properly license it. Unfortunately, businesses must understand that they can’t take shortcuts when it comes to legitimately run technology. Everything must be properly licensed and on the up. More and more manufacturers are implementing activation features, though, so piracy and overuse is becoming less possible.

Using a reputable managed service provider for your technology will alleviate any potential issues with illegal software. An MSP will properly purchase, install and document all programs necessary for your business.

4. Insufficient Training

Investing money into bettering your technology isn’t just about installing new software or equipment. Often, training employees on how to properly utilize the new upgrades is overlooked. We know your team is top-notch and can figure things out for themselves but technology is a different story. If they don’t understand how to use it or don’t buy into what you’re trying to achieve with the upgrade, the value of the technology is far less.

Training how to use a program may sound like a snooze but consider the inefficiencies it can reduce. Manual data entry, complicated calculations, reporting, etc. are time-consuming and can be done more effectively if staff know how to use their software. Managed service providers have loads of knowledge on specific software programs and can partner with your business to teach staff.

5. Security Holes

Small businesses routinely fail to address the necessary security protocols. Whether the cost, the complexity or just plain not taking it seriously, security risks are way too common for businesses without legit security measures in place.

It’s estimated that almost 70% of cybercrime is now directed at small businesses and of those businesses hit, 60% of those go out of business after an attack. Without a professional-looking into your threats, companies leave the door wide open for cybercriminals.

So how do you protect your business? For starters, work with your managed service provider to make sure your security software and back-up devices are all top-notch and running properly. Getting up and running again after a hit is just as crucial as preventing an attack in the first place. Second, cybersecurity training for staff should high on your list as they are both your biggest risk and the first line of defense. For more explanation on how to protect your data visit our IT Security page. If you think your company has been the victim of cybercrime, contact us immediately at 314-822-8090.

While this short list tells a few of the things that will help a small business make wise technology decisions, nothing is more valuable than having a trusted managed technology partner to be your aid. It’s an MSPs job to proactively, reactively and efficiently guide your IT practices because it’s a win-win for both sides. For more information on The Miller Group’s managed service plans.