In a perfect world, every business would have a team of IT experts to handle all their technology needs. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Most small businesses don't have the budget to hire full-time IT staff, so they have to make do with what they have. This can lead to problems down the road, including inadvertently using outdated and inefficient technology or improperly configuring devices and applications.
If you're a small-business owner, it’s important to be aware of the ways that bad IT can cost your company.
Shadow IT refers to the use of unauthorized applications or devices for work purposes. While it's understandable that your staff might want to find solutions to increase productivity, this can often lead to security breaches and compliance issues. For example, an employee’s personal laptop could have malware on it. If they use it to connect to your office network, that puts the entire network at risk.
Not only does shadow IT put your company at risk, but it can also be expensive. When employees use unauthorized apps, they may not be aware of the cost of the subscription or the potential fees for going over data usage. If they're not careful, they could rack up a significant bill that your company will have to pay.
To prevent shadow IT from becoming a problem, set clear policies about which devices and applications are approved for work use. You should also make sure that employees receive adequate training and support in using the approved devices and apps.
Outdated and unused software
If you've been in business for a while, there's a good chance you have some outdated software on your computers, gathering dust. Maybe you bought a program a few years ago that you ended up never using, or maybe you upgraded to a newer version of an application but never uninstalled the old one.
This might not seem like a big deal, but having outdated and unused software on your computers can actually be quite costly. For one thing, it takes up valuable storage space, which can cause your computers to slow down and make them less efficient. Additionally, outdated software is more likely to have security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. If these software programs are connected to the internet, they could provide a gateway for cybercriminals to gain access to your network.
To avoid these problems, take inventory of the software installed on your computers regularly. Then, remove any programs that you're not using to free up space. Also, keeping your software up to date is critical to maintaining online security, so download the latest patches and updates as soon as they are released. This ensures that your computers are running as efficiently as possible and that you're not unnecessarily exposing yourself to security risks.
If you use software that requires a license, you need to make sure that you're complying with the terms of the agreement. Otherwise, you may be subjected to significant fines. For instance, if you have a software license for five devices but end up installing it on more than that, you could be charged for the additional devices.
Businesses also get hit with penalties when they fail to renew their licenses on time. If you let your software license expire, you may have to pay a penalty to reinstate it. In some cases, you might even have to purchase a brand new license, which can be quite expensive.
To avoid paying hefty penalties, keep track of your software licenses and make sure you understand the terms of the agreement. You should also set up reminders or alerts to renew your licenses before they expire. This way, you can avoid any disruptions to your business and save yourself some money in the long run.
It's easy to scale up your use of cloud-based services as your business grows, but it's just as easy to let your cloud usage get out of control. You could end up paying for more storage than you need or using more bandwidth than your plan allows. This could lead to unexpected charges that eat into your profits.
To get your cloud spending under control, understand how much cloud resources you're actually using. You should also regularly review your subscription plans to make sure you're not paying for more than you need. If you find that your cloud usage has increased, consider upgrading to a higher-priced plan to get the storage and bandwidth you need.
Additionally, properly configure your security settings to protect your data. The last thing you want is for your cloud-based services to be hacked and your sensitive information to be exposed.
Nonexistent or misconfigured backups
One of the worst things that can happen to your business is losing all of your data due to a computer crash or hardware failure. It's therefore essential to have a robust backup system in place to ensure that your data is safe and accessible.
Your backup plan should include both on-site and off-site storage. On-site backups are stored locally, such as on an external hard drive. Off-site backups are stored remotely, such as in the cloud. This way, if your local backups are lost or damaged, you'll still have a copy of your data stored safely in a server in a remote location.
You should also regularly test your backups to make sure they're working properly. Nothing is worse than thinking your data is backed up only to find out that it's not when you need it. By regularly testing your backups, you can avoid this nightmare scenario.
By understanding the risks associated with bad IT, you can take steps to avoid them and protect your business. If you need help getting your IT in order, contact outsourceIT today. Our experts can help you implement the right technology for your needs and use it to its full potential.