IT Advice for Small Business Owners
As a small business owner, rather it be providing a product or service, the dedication and the pride you have for what you do, your customers, and your relationships is often unmatched. However, from one small business to another, there is also the need to wear many hats—a critical of which is technology.
From internal business operations, such as email and file sharing, to external operations, such as inventory management, sales and payment tracking, etc., technology is a necessary component for running a business. Since you might not have the means to hire an entire in-house team of IT experts, there are special considerations small business owners need to keep in mind to keep your business safe and running efficiently. Below is IT advice from one small business to another that you should keep in mind.
- Installing anti-virus protection. In 2021, 61 percent of small businesses were the target of a cyber-attack. What’s more, small businesses receive the highest rate of targeted malicious emails at a rate of 1 in 323. To help ensure your small business is protected, it is important to make sure you have anti-virus protection on your company’s computers. Anti-virus software scans your computer for potential threats and removes any viruses it finds, which is a cost-effective way to protect your company’s data and assets.
- Updating and patching your computers and equipment goes a long way. Ever had a notification pop up saying it’s time to restart your computer while you are in the middle of something, so you just ignore it? Notice your computer running more slowly than usual? Regular software and system updates provide access to release updates that can fix performance issues. Since you likely do not have an IT team running these patches for you in the background, it’s important that you and your team update your computers frequently to ensure they are running optimally.
Additionally, software updates and patches help safeguard your business’s IT assets when your software or operating system has security vulnerabilities. 95 percent of security incidents at small businesses cost between $826 and $653,587 to fix, so along with anti-virus protection, having your systems up to date helps protect you from costly incidents.
- Utilizing off-site backups/the Cloud. As a small business owner, you may have opted to keep all your data onsite where you work (or you may have not thought about it at all, and having everything hosted on site is done by default). However, small blips like power or internet outages can result in down time for your business, while full-on disasters, hardware failure, etc., could result in all of your data being lost.
Industry best practice is to follow the 3-2-1 backup strategy: 3 copies of data; 2 copies kept onsite, but on different media; and at least 1 copy offsite. You can choose to manually copy over these files and send them to an offsite data center, or you can utilize the Cloud, which allows you to automatically copy data at any time. Using the Cloud for offsite storage is a convenient, cost-effective way to share data across locations, secure your data via encryption, and serves as a quick way to recover data should you need to.
- Outsourcing your IT needs to a trusted service provider. The above IT tips will go a long way in supporting and protecting your small business’s IT needs, but it is also important to stay aware of the trends and latest best practices when it comes to navigating the ever-evolving landscape that is IT. As mentioned before, having your own in-house IT team is unlikely, as it can be costly and potentially not sustainable full time.
Since 1999, BDK has served as a trusted technology partner for several small businesses across numerous industries—providing a full range of IT services that serve to help achieve business objectives. What’s more, depending on your needs, you can scale services up and down—providing you access to IT experts when you need it. To learn more about how we can support your business’s IT needs, contact us today!