As an IT support company in Edinburgh we work with a lot of small and medium sized businesses. Here are some of the most common IT problems we come across.
Haphazard backup procedures
A small start-up business will usually begin by storing most of their work on one or two PCs and maybe creating some backup disks or copies of their important files every now and then. As the business expands it is likely that the number of staff will increase and there will be more PCs, clients and information to keep track of. Very soon these backup procedures will be too haphazard to guarantee the safety of essential data. In addition, since May 2018 all businesses need to comply with even stricter data protection rules (GDPR). This means that secure storage of private data is not just good practice but a mandatory requirement. This is why businesses need to take secure data storage and data backup very seriously. They need to be thinking about investing either in their own secure server with backup software which will run overnight or some type of cloud backup software. It is also important that they know how to recover their data from their backup solution (and test that the restore works) in case the worst happens and their data is lost or deleted.
Just-in-time may work well as a model in manufacturing but in terms of keeping your business hardware running smoothly it is not good practice. Many SME owners take the attitude of waiting until something breaks before replacing it. This is definitely not something we would recommend. If one of your company PC’s fails and is out of use you then have a member of staff without access to a computer for the whole time it takes to order, take delivery and setup a new one. This could affect important processes running on time e.g. payroll runs, replying to clients, processing invoices. A much better solution is to arrange a maintenance contract on critical hardware items with full replacement every five years or so.
At risk of hacking
Anyone who uses a computer connected to the internet is at risk of hacking. Computer hackers break into computer systems with the aim of stealing or destroying important information. They target usernames, passwords, bank details as well as personal information about employees and clients which they can sell on. This is often done via malware delivered by spam emails. Too often small businesses install some antivirus software at the start but fail to keep up to date with all the software updates. It is also important that updates to applications and operating system software are made to ensure they are running the latest version of the software. This should be an essential part of your IT maintenance. In addition if you store files containing sensitive information on a flash drive, external hard drive or laptop they should be encrypted. Then if they get lost and fall into the wrong hands you can be sure that any sensitive data is fully protected from hackers.
An outdated website
A website is a virtual storefront for a business and it is essential that it is kept up to date and relevant. Many small businesses spend a lot of time planning and designing the look and feel of their brand new website but once it is up and running it often gets forgotten about. Within a few years the overall design can start to look and feel tired and dated. This can harm a business as research suggests that most consumers judge a business’ credibility purely on their website design. In addition, to rank well in Google, websites have to work well technically. Firstly web pages have to load quickly. This is because Google uses speed as a ranking factor and also because most people are impatient and will click away from your site if the page does not load within a couple of seconds. Secondly we live in a mobile world and users expect websites to work well on all of their devices. So if your website looks dated, is slow or doesn’t have a responsive design you will be putting your business at risk of missing out on a large number of potential customers.
If you need help with any area of your business IT support, please feel free to get in touch with Data Computer Services. We are an experienced, friendly IT support company in Edinburgh.