Data from business leaders and research firms around the world indicates that up to 80% of startup businesses fail within the first two years. According to some studies, it is believed that only 4% of businesses are still operating after the first ten years. These figures may be shocking to some business owners, but for analysts and consultants, they’re a reality of the business world.
Companies fail for a number of complex reasons, and it would be impossible to address every possible scenario in one article. What we can look at, is how IT mistakes can lead to business failure.
The businesses of today use more IT solutions than at any time in history. Today it’s not just computers, but also the internet, private networks, and even IoT (internet of things) devices and sensors. When so much of daily operation relies on technology, a relatively minor mistake could lead to severe consequences.
The following five small business IT shortcomings can help business owners better understand the common mistakes and the risks they pose.
Not Securing BYOD Devices
The concept of BYOD (bring your own device) has become more accepted in modern businesses. Staff want to use devices that they’re familiar with, and there’s even evidence to suggest that BYOD can improve productivity.
However, when small businesses offer systems access through devices that aren’t directly controlled by the IT administrator, this can open up a significant amount of risk. Information can be lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised when accessed by a third party device.
Businesses don’t need to abolish BYOD, but they do need robust security systems that can protect against lost or compromised data. BYOD security and policy development should be a priority.
Large enterprises enforce strict rules that govern the types of passwords that are acceptable. Some even require monthly password changes to limit risk. Passwords that are easy to guess will be a risk to small businesses, as are passwords that have been used for an extended period of time.
Small businesses should use passphrases that incorporate numbers and special characters, and should change network, application, and computer passwords on a regular basis.
Lack of Adequate Policy or Training
Most small businesses don’t have the in-house resources to provide full IT support and training. Many startups rely on out-of-the-box software solutions and the average employee won’t possess even a basic understanding of the IT infrastructure and how it works.
A lack of training or awareness can mean that bad habits develop. While businesses may be performing operational tasks with ease, thanks to modern software; they could be leaving risk areas open through unintentional negligence and ignorance.
Any new software or hardware implementation should be accompanied by training and complete documentation. An in-house subject matter expert should be assigned in cases where there is no full time IT support staff. For system changes, training requirements, or any security concerns, businesses should rely on professional IT support or security consulting services.
Managed IT Provides Benefits
Avoiding outside help is perhaps the biggest IT shortcoming in small business. Owners sometimes shy away from outside consulting because they look at this type of service as an expense. The reality is that IT consulting is a business investment that can help secure a stable and profitable future.
Managed IT Services can provide:
- Team training and reference documentation that allows for efficient and responsible use of IT solutions.
- Recommendations to improve efficiency of the systems that are already in place.
- Security audits and recommendations that protect business interests.
- Network security training and implementation that protects sensitive data.
- Ongoing troubleshooting and technical support that keeps a business running smoothly.
Business owners and their teams are more productive when IT systems work without defects and security flaws. Investment in managed services can have a huge influence on the ongoing success and growth of any modern business.