For business leaders around the world, good IT management will always be an important component to business success. Our world continues to change at a rapid pace, forever integrating new and better technologies which give us more access, better communication, deeper analysis, and increased productivity.
Managing our networks, our systems, our internal procedures and policies, our apps, our websites, and every IT tool requires consistency, attention, and considerable knowledge of IT functions. With everything on our plate, it’s easy to let things slide, to miss out on opportunities and allow certain IT processes to be neglected. The consequences can be far-reaching and range from the merely annoying to the catastrophic. Let’s look at 6 common IT mistakes and some ways to correct them.
1. Neglecting Backup
This is a big IT mistake. Your organization’s data, customer info, communications, brand content, and proprietary company data are imperative for your business’s daily operations and ongoing success. Without established procedures for regular backup, we expose some of our most important assets to loss or digital corruption.
It’s wise to always backup off-site, using external sources like trusted cloud or other professional data backup services. This ensures that even if something goes wrong on-site, you’ll always have updated copies somewhere else, away from any of the problems you might be experiencing. Cloud-based backup services allow you to set your own parameters for what gets backed up and when. You can schedule backups according to your needs and your best schedule. Some quality programs include SpiderOak, iDrive, Backblaze, Acronis True Image, Carbonite Safe and several more.
You can also make additional backups using external hard drives and store them securely on-site in a fire and waterproof safe. Protecting your data using multiple methods is always one of the best decisions you can make. Don’t neglect backup. Protect yourself and make sure you never lose a single piece of data to power failures, viruses, human error, or natural disasters.
2. Avoiding Automation
Automation isn’t always the right move for every part of your business. Some things need a more personal, human touch. But with others, several aspects of social media, email, customer response, backup, signup, and more can be automated to save time, money, and hassle.
There are a range of apps and programs to help you create and distribute digital assets to multiple media channels. You can design emails, blog posts and social media posts, instructional videos, communication pieces, newsletters, ads and much more, and sync these with programs that allow you to automate your efforts using customer lists, demographic-specific targeting, specific timing, and additional management tools that you can set and then forget. Of course, you’ll want someone in charge of these tools who knows them inside and out, understands media and IT, and knows how to make the most of automation.
More specific to IT, automation can reduce time spent on repetitive tasks, initiate batch-processes, handle data-transfers, establish and run multiple levels of network security, manage multiple workflows, perform data analysis and organize the information into a series of categories and reports, update operating systems, configure servers on virtual machines, and help you manage workflow distribution.
Automation can improve multiple layers of business, make life easier on your team, both in your outreach and brand strategies and in IT-specific procedures that keep your business running smoothly.
3. Too Many Tools, Too Little Expertise
Okay, this is technically two, but they’re tied together in many ways. Some organizations get tech and app crazy, constantly snatching up the cool new programs but never fully learning them to make them useful or using programs that are entirely unnecessary for their workflow. Just because you can have something doesn’t mean you should. Work with your IT specialists to figure out exactly which programs are right for you.
This brings us to the other half of this tip, not having enough expertise. Most businesses could use solid IT assistance. As we grow our companies, in-depth IT management becomes imperative, especially with how reliant we are now on digital assets, multimedia, and integrated communications channels.
4. Obsolete Hardware & Software
It’s where a lot of problems begin. Trying to do business with slow hardware or outdated software ties your hands and keeps you from greater levels of productivity. We may want to save money by sticking with older technologies, but this can often prove detrimental. Outdated systems affect processing capability, storage capacity, data efficiency, customer support, security, quality control, internal communications, project management, and brand initiatives.
It isn’t about constantly updating every tool you have or trying to collect all the newest and coolest programs. It’s about selecting the hardware, software and apps that fit your business, keep you organized, and allow you to create, initiate and manage all your brand, customer, and communications plans efficiently and securely.
It may cost a little more to update your IT and network tools. But it will allow you to reach a higher level of productivity, protect your digital assets and customer info, and help you create a better image within the market.
5. Poor Security
This may be one that comes up often, but it’s only because it remains an aspect of IT that should never be taken lightly. Data and network security should be a foundation stone for your business. We rely too heavily on our global communications, media, and data-driven solutions to allow them to be hacked or corrupted.
No matter how good your product or service might be or how popular you are with your audience, security breaches can damage your business for life. Unauthorized access to private customer information, proprietary product data, and communications channels can lead to a loss of confidence from your customers, your audience, your clients, and your business partners.
The solution to this is similar to staying warm in cold weather… layering. You’ll want to have the best IT specialists possible to manage your security efforts. From here, you’ll need to invest in a great firewall, encryption for data, signup and communications, multiple backup options, AI solutions for centralized control over individualized security protections within different areas of your business, regular software updates, two-factor or multi-factor authentication for customer payments and purchases, trusted antivirus software, DNS protection, malware protections, email gateway security, and any other tools your IT specialist believes in and can demonstrate its effectiveness. Also, it’s good to start by compiling a list of internal security policies and making sure every individual in your organization understands each one.
6. Not Making the Most of Analytics
Data analytics might sound boring to some. But I can assure you, the results of putting analytics into practice can be a game changer for your business. Data analysis tools are found in many corners these days, from built-in options in common platforms like Google, Microsoft and Facebook, to program add-ons, dedicated analysis software and bespoke, individual options created specifically for your organization.
Data analysis tools gather streams of data from multiple channels, then organizes them and creates reports, graphs, charts, and spreadsheets, along with insights and tips, all designed to help you make more focused decisions. Data analysis allows you manage expenses and inventory to help you spend more wisely. You’ll also spot trends in consumer behavior, which makes your marketing efforts more effective. You’ll also have access to current patterns within your organization’s spending habits, marketing efforts, communications, departmental performance, and distribution.
Analytics opens a world of knowledge to the savvy business owner, changing raw data into specific insights. Data analysis equips you to make better choices for your business today and plan ahead for the years to come.
IT is one of the most important areas of business today, for small, mid-sized and larger companies alike. WIth our connection and reliance upon media and communications, our need for smooth networks, and our desire for making better sense of the data we receive and process, developing a solid IT strategy and surrounding ourselves with experienced IT pros, is something we cannot neglect if we want to continue to grow and succeed.
Tech Masters makes life easier for businesses everywhere by providing comprehensive IT solutions that are individually-tailored to each organization. Connect with us today to find out how we can help.
For answers to a few important IT questions, check out our FAQs below.
How important is IT support in my business?
Making sure you’ve got excellent IT support, whether in-house or through an outsourced IT service provider, can make all the difference. Without it, you’ll be neglecting key points of efficiency and productivity, putting your customers and data at risk to security breaches, and not giving yourself the guidance needed to maximize on your technology and your analysis.
Experienced IT professionals, along with the right hardware, software, apps, and web-based programs, can give you the infrastructure and support you need to excel instead of just getting by.
What are some common IT mistakes that businesses make?
The list is long, but some of the most common mistakes include not having enough security on board, using obsolete equipment and programs, not backing up your data, not partnering with experienced professionals who can make the most of your tools, letting data sit too long before acting on the information, and avoiding automation for tasks and repetitive but important marketing and communications programs.
How do I stay current with my IT strategy?
Every company’s IT strategy will be different. The important thing is to make a plan and follow it, acquire the necessary tools to make your efforts easier and more efficient, and work with IT professionals with a proven track record, great advice, and a desire to see your business flourish.
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