This article is part of our September 2015 special report on startups, which highlights IEEE’s efforts to attract more entrepreneurial types to the organization.
Small business owners, regardless of which industry they are in, are inundated with a large number of daily tasks and decisions that require their attention. However, there are many critical mistakes that are made by saving a task for tomorrow that should be handled today particularly when it pertains to technologies used to run a business.
Some might believe the safety, security, and upgrading of computer systems and software can wait, but it only takes one night for a security breach, data failure, or a virus or malware attack to occur and destroy what business owners have worked so hard to build. Thousands of small businesses each day have their data compromised by hackers and viruses, and a lack of proper maintenance can also result in data losses. Don't make the same mistakes. Keep reading and note what not to do in order to properly secure and protect your systems.
Mistake 1: Waiting to update your software
Updates are released for system software and applications for many reasons. An update can contain bug fixes that help software run more smoothly, and it may contain new features that improve the application overall. It may also contain important security fixes. Otherwise, hackers might be able to take advantage. Always update the software as soon as new updates are available.
Mistake 2: Not keeping track of licenses
Software licenses, which govern the use or redistribution of software, are more important than you might think. You will likely need to refer to them when upgrading your software. They also provide proof of assets that must be taken into account when working on your finances.
Mistake 3: Don't wait to backup your files
A number of factor scan cause data losses. All you have to do is use applications that back up your data, which are already part of your system software, or purchase those that meet your needs. You can then set your preferences so your computer systems and servers will back up data every night on the schedule you set. This way you don't have to remember to do so yourself or worry about it. There is simply no excuse to not back up your files.
Mistake 4: Not properly training your staff
It isn’t enough that you know how to keep your data safe; your employees must also know what they should and shouldn’t do when using applications and browsing on the Internet. Make sure your staff is properly trained in the basics of Internet security so that they don't accidentally download viruses or malware, or inadvertently cause a security breach because they allowed passwords to be seen by those who weren’t authorized.
Mistake 5: Not using anti-malware programs
Your system may already come with some sort of virus protection software, but you’ll want to make sure you are using tools that detect spyware and malware too. Additionally, you must always keep software updated in order to protect against the latest threats. One of the best ways to do this is to switch to cloud-based applications, which update automatically, saving you the time of having to complete the updates yourself.
Mistake 6: Not calling an IT vendor for help
If you are having an issue with your computer or an application, don’t ignore it. Call a professional. Not fixing it can lead to a more serious technical problem.
Mistake 7: Not performing routine maintenance
Defragging your system, which pieces together blocks of data on your system; cleaning up the system of thousands of emails or files no longer needed; and updating your system software can help you avoid lag time or freezing when trying to work on or update your computer.
Mistake 8: Not replacing old hardware
Not everything needs to be replaced when it gets old, but computer systems and accompanying hardware typically don’t have a shelf life beyond a few years. Trying to use old equipment instead of replacing it with new hardware can actually cost you more in the long run. Old computer hardware can slow down your system, be unable to run new software and upgrades or handle a lot of data, and slow down your Internet service.
Do you know of other tech mistakes that should be avoided? Share them in the comments section below.
Sandra J. Lambert is a computer networking and security specialist. She is a Cisco certified professional and has written several articles addressing cybersecurity-related issues.