I’ve worked with a wide range of small businesses over the last 15 years, everything from lawyers to accountants to dentists to graphic designers and there are three technology mistakes I see small business owners make consistently.
1. Patching Perils. Do you have a patching plan for your business computers? Patches are software updates from vendors such as Microsoft, Adobe and Oracle (Java) that fix bugs (usually security flaws) in your software.
Patching your software can protect you from over 80% of the nasty viruses, Trojans and malware that is out there. Create a patch plan for your computers or hire someone to do it for you.
2. Botched Backups. Old joke. There are two kinds of people: those who have backups and those who will. What would happen to your business if you lost your client database, your financial information, your calendar?
If you have a backup, have you tested it recently? Is your backup kept off site? Few years ago I had a client who not only had his laptop stolen but also the backup drive he was using. Unless your business uses really large files all the time, cloud backup is quite affordable.
3. Antique Code Show. Small business owners frequently hold on to old software and equipment far too long. That Windows XP desktop, that 10 year old router, they’re not adding to your bottom line, they’re costing you money. Why? Cost of maintenance, security risks and slower productivity. It is cheaper to have a graceful retirement plan for your old equipment than to be forced to upgrade when it dies.
On the August long weekend, I got an emergency call from a store on Denman Street. Their old router died and they couldn’t use their point of sales terminal. On the busiest weekend of the summer for that neighbourhood. Luckily I was able to help them so they didn’t lose sales. But ask yourself what are the key pieces of technology in my business and how old are they? When do they need to be replaced?
How do you avoid these common tech mistakes? First create a patching schedule for yourequipment. Second, setup and test your backups regularly. Third, inventory all your computer equipment and find out how old it is and when it should be replaced.