• Shay | SNL-Tech

Top 5 IT Mistakes You're Small Business Makes

Being a small business is hard work. You spend long hours working and you wear many hats being a small business owner. Sometimes it is hard to let go and hand the reins over to someone else. I have been working as an IT Consultant in one form or another for 20 years and let me tell you, I have seen it all. I thought I would give you a list of the Top 5 mistakes I see small businesses make when it comes to their IT.




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1.) Not having an IT Emergency Fund.


Just as we are advised to have an emergency fund for unplanned life expenses, the same goes for your business's IT expenses. Computer’s crash, power surges can fry your equipment even on a surge protector, Servers, switches, firewalls, wireless access points, printers and computers will not last forever. They are essential to the day-to-day function of your business and these purchases can be costly!


I know that when you first start out you must purchase everything at once, or at least most things. Even if you buy 11 computers at the same time, you can create a replacement plan to replace 3 or 4 of them in 3 years, and another 3 or 4 in about 4 years and so on. this way you are staying up to do date with the latest technology and not incurring the cost of having to replace everything at once.


Sometimes you can even get away with just purchasing more memory and a faster SSD hard drive to get another few year out of the machine. Talk to an IT professional, they can tell you the truth when it comes to limping a computer along or when it is time to call it end of life. My point is come up with a plan so that you know what to expect and have an emergency plan in place as well, because unplanned events can happen.


Check out my equipment inventory spreadsheet and computer Inventory spreadsheet that I use. You can get your free download here: IT Inventory for Your Small Business (FREE Templates Included) (snl-techservices.com)



2.) Doing it Yourself to Save Money.


Maybe it does in the beginning, and I completely understand wanting to cut costs and save money where you can. I am a small business owner myself, and I am cheap when I can be, but I also know what I cannot do myself, like my website for example, well I could, but trust me, you would not want to visit it.


I, for example, hired a professional to do my website, which saved me a lot of headaches, late nights and cursing at the computer screen. I now have a website I am proud of and it freed up my time to focus on other important aspects of my business. What a game changer!


It is okay to do some basic troubleshooting before calling a professional. Do the windows updates, software updates, firmware updates, try rebooting your devices, but once you find yourself on Google trying to troubleshoot problems, it is time to pick up the phone and bring in the professional. Google is great for some things, but it can take you down some fatal paths that can reck havoc on your computers and network, which in turn can become costly when you must bring in a professional to fix what you did. Whereas if you had just had the professional from the beginning then you would have saved money.



3.) Not having backups.


It always surprises me at how many businesses do not have proper backups of their servers or computers or data because they do not want to spend the small amount of money, monthly on a cloud backup solution.


Having a local backup is great, but if you get the crypto lock virus then that local backup is useless to you. People always tell me it is expensive, and I will always respond with the same thing and I am not trying to be a jerk when I say this, but I am trying to get my point across. How many hours can you afford to be down with out access to your server or files? How many days, weeks, or even months? Could you stay in business?


For most businesses that are not large corporations the answer to this is no, you would not make it. So, for a small monthly fee you have the piece of mind that your data is secure and safe and available to you if you need to pull a backup of everything. There are plenty of options for different budgets that protect you from your files becoming encrypted and they also offer file versioning options. It is better to lose a days’ worth of work as the worst-case scenario than to lose everything and pay a ransom that still does not ensure that you get your data recovered.



4.) Thinking you do not need a virus scan.


You need a virus scan, and you should have one that is designed for a business, not for a home user.


Windows defender is not going to prevent you from getting viruses, it will not block harmful websites, or malware from getting on your computer.


You want a virus scan that offers predictive learning to protect you, that has real time scanning occurring in the background, that offers you a management portal where you can review the scan for each computer, and that can help to protect you from ransomware, because lets face it, in 2020 ransomware attacks rose by 300%, yes read that again, ransomware attacks rose by 300% just in the last year.



5.) Not having a secure network.


Okay so you have Wi-Fi, and it has a password, but you also offer guest Wi-Fi with a password, so you are good right? Yes and No, its great to have passwords on your Wi-Fi, but if your guest network is not on a completely different subnet then you could be in trouble. Its not hard for a decent hacker to gain access to your computers, servers, credit card machines and other sensitive information.


Do yourself a favor, bring in an IT professional, make sure you have the proper equipment such as a firewall (the hardware kind), switches that can do vlans, and Wi-Fi equipment that is designed for businesses, not home use. You would be surprised at what someone with a good skill set can do just from their cell phone if they can gain access to your network, they could change your passwords and lock you out of your network, IT equipment and even computers.




As a small business owner, myself, I understand the pain points of running a small business. I know how much time and hard work goes into running a business. I also understand that a small business does not need a full time IT person, that is why I am here. It is the entire reason I have built SNL Tech Services. I can help you with your IT projects, IT maintenance and just general IT support as well as offer Managed IT services for a flat monthly fee, if you feel that you are at that next level of needing IT support for your small business.


I founded SNL Tech Services to help the small business be successful by taking the burden and frustrations of technology away so that you can focus on what you are good at, running your business, because I am good at IT, it is what my business is all about. Feel free to reach out even if its just to ask a question that you are unsure about. I am happy to listen, and offer advise and support when needed.



FREE GUIDE

Wondering if it's time you should outsource you IT needs? Download my free outsource guide to see when is a good time to outsource.