Computers and the networks that power them bring all kinds of benefits into our lives, but they can also cause problems. From data breaches to outages and downtime, there are all kinds of reasons why computer networks can sap time, resources and money. And if you’re a small business without any IT support function, it can seem even more daunting to deal with any issues which do arise. Here are some of the key IT issues a small business can face – and how to address them.
Outages and downtime
When it comes to software, it’s sadly not unusual to experience frustrating moments during which you cannot access what you need. Whether it’s spreadsheet software that won’t open up or a word processing platform that freezes and locks your screen, it’s inevitable that there will be problems. It’s not just software that can experience downtime either. Important web-based systems on which your business may rely, such as online banking, can go down at a moment’s notice.
However, there are ways to be prepared. By setting up a back-up computer which isn’t connected to your wider network, for example, you’ll be able to switch over to a different piece of kit in the event of problems. Or having a second business bank account at a different provider for emergency use means you’ll always be able to send and receive payments.
Data breaches are always in the news at the moment, and from celebrities to the NHS it seems nobody is immune. Problems can include everything from denial of service attacks (where a server goes down due to repeated, deliberate requests being made to it) or phishing (fake emails or other messages sent to trick a member of your staff into handing over personal information).
Luckily, it’s relatively simple to defend yourself against malicious forces. By implementing longer passwords which are regularly changed, for example, you can make it substantially harder for hackers to break into your systems. You can also train your staff to know when an email is legitimate or not and ask them to make sure they report anything suspicious to you.
Problems with staff
On that note, sometimes the issue in a small business lies with staff who don’t have the skills to use certain pieces of hardware or software and find that they need to be properly trained. For a large business, an IT support technician can usually come and fix any problems and demonstrate how to use the item, but for a small business with not enough resources for a dedicated technician, it’s not so simple. Instead, an IT support contract would work: managed IT assistance means that you can call on the help you need when you need it, rather than have to employ a dedicated member of staff.
No matter what IT issue you or your staff are facing, it’s important to get it sorted as quickly as possible to keep your small business running. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to achieve that. From investing in a managed IT support function to using common sense around passwords and online security, IT need not be a problem for your company.