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As is the case with many other organizations that have been around as long, we see common information technology mistakes or problems that our clients experience. The following is a list of many of those problems that I would like to share with you. I did not put this in any order because I think of Information Technology as a chain and the IT system is only as strong as its weakest link.

  1. Not believing in security and assuming that the organization is too small to be hacked. These days any computer that is connected to the Internet can be used as a bot (robot) to spam and attack other computers. No matter what your business is, it is vital to have the right antivirus, firewall, and security procedures to make sure you are fully protected.
  2. Believing that the computer system is new, it should not break. I can’t tell you how often we come across clients who believe that because their laptop, monitor, computer, printer, etc. was just recently purchased, it will not fail. Because of this line of thinking, people often do not take the necessary steps to provide themselves with the correct backup or adequate protection in the event of failure. What makes it worse is not having the appropriate warranty.
  3. The “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mentality. This is as saying “If my car isn’t broken, I’m not going to get a tune up, car wash, oil change, etc.” I cannot stress how important it is to take a proactive stance when it comes to your IT maintenance. Just as a car that has not been properly maintained, it is more likely to have IT service issues that cause costly repairs and make systems not perform at optimum. Your IT system is equally vulnerable to the consequences of neglect: downtime, data loss, etc. that will ultimately cost a lot more than any service agreement. It is important to have a proactive role towards your IT maintenance. Even if you think your operation is not mission critical, the downtime and may cost you a lot more than the maintenance agreement.
  4. Using under qualified staff – More people are computer savvy than ever before, so it is not uncommon to find many small businesses relying on the IT assistance provided by a relative or staff member. The problem is no matter how good or knowledgeable they may be, they often do more damage than good. The IT industry is dynamic and ever-changing. Many updates, downloads or inappropriate installations can create havoc on the system. Using a certified professional not only provides peace of mind, but it will save the big bucks in the long run.
  5. Not having the right technology. In many ways, this is one of the most egregious of mistakes and unfortunately it’s seen frequently. Whether it is hardware or software, there is often a flagrant mismatch of system to needs and business tasks to applications, as well as basic incompatibility of system components. In addition, there is the erroneous belief that all equipment is equal and will function the same way. This is one of the main mistakes we see this across the board. Whether it is hardware or software, we see a mismatch of the applications or the software for performing the operational business tasks at hand. We see free or inexpensive firewall systems installed assuming that they are all the same.
  6. Lack of policies. Any and all businesses need to have policies in place with regard to their overall system security so that everyone in your organization is on the same page. For example, how does your company handle Disaster recovery and business continuity? How about equipment and e-mail passwords? Making sure they are changed on a regular basis is perhaps one aspect of a policy that should be implemented. There should be a policy with regard to backups: daily scheduling, taking a copy of the latest backup off premises for security purposes, performing on-line backups, etc. A policy for mobile and laptops, particularly if they connect to the main office, are also important to put into effect.
  7. Not having an IT budget-While large companies have the resources to include IT as a part of their ordinary operating costs, many small businesses are understandably challenged by a lack of funds and tend to think of IT as non-essential. The problem is without the proper IT guidance and support, many small business are simply not operating in the most cost-efficient manner, thereby wasting both time and money. Sometimes even minor changes to a system can increase productivity, offering a more competitive advantage and a better bottom line.
  8. Right power protection. Any expensive electronic equipment should be protected by a UPS (uinterruptable power supply) ith shut down software. Also, adequate air and temperature control for the equipment are a must, especially during the summer heat.
  9. Training for the staff – t is not uncommon to find staff members who have not been adequately trained in the proper usage of applications that are often a part of their daily responsibilities. Using software or equipment improperly can have expensive ramifications. Proper training is as essential as the software of equipment itself.
  10. Website – have written “Ten commandments for the website

IT budget, policies, website,