No matter what the size or type of your business, you almost certainly encounter technology issues. It can feel like you’re alone, especially if you’re the leader of an emerging, growing startup, but the fact is, all businesses face these common problems.
What sets the ones that ultimately succeed apart — in spite of the software issues they face — is that they’ve figured out how to deal with them. How can you, too, learn how to nip common problems in the bud? Here are some of the most frequent technology issues businesses face, along with solutions.
1. Cybersecurity Threats
Cybersecurity threats have gotten a lot more sophisticated since the days when you would get an email from someone claiming to be a prince from a faraway land asking for your bank information and social security number. Today, cybercriminals use a range of methods to attack you and your business, from malware to infiltration of private systems to phishing schemes.
Successful cyberattacks can cost hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. Small and new businesses are particularly at risk since they are often unable to cope with the damage to their reputation, not to mention the cost of dealing with the attack.
Fortunately, with the escalation of cybercrimes, protective measures are growing in sophistication, too. At a more basic level, you should bring in an IT expert to educate your employees about how to recognize attempts to hack business systems, as well as implement measures like two-factor authentication measures. You should also ensure you’re restricting access to sensitive data to the employees who truly need it.
But you also need to invest in a solid, secure infrastructure — the basis of your protection. Consider bringing in a cybersecurity expert or white-hat hacker to identify vulnerabilities and give you advice on how to patch them. They can also provide guidance on additional cybersecurity measures your business should take, such as implementing firewalls and VPNs.
2. Integration Incompatibilities
All businesses require numerous technology solutions to keep their operations running smoothly. Unfortunately, you might also encounter compatibility issues as you bring in new software. You could be adopting applications of different brands into the mix, or you might have different versions of technologies that were created at different times and no longer function well together.
This can lead to your equipment malfunctioning. Or, you might have to repeat tasks. To avoid this common problem, you should always take stock of your current systems and research new software you’re considering bringing into your business to ensure that the platforms will function together correctly.
Another solution is to build custom software. This has many advantages, along with the fact that the developers can create the platforms with your unique needs in mind — including compatibility with your current systems. Some businesses have a software development team in place that can devise these solutions internally, while others turn to outside providers who work with them to build custom software.
3. Outdated Systems
When was the last time you conducted an audit of your software and technology systems? If you can’t remember — or you’ve never done one at all — then you could very well be using outdated tools and platforms. This can introduce numerous problems for your business and your employees.
For example, software could frequently crash or stop working altogether. It could even be incompatible with newer tools you introduce into your office, as per #2. This will frequently disrupt the workflow, not to mention irritate your employees and make their work lives more difficult than they need to be. You could also be introducing vulnerabilities because newer versions of software are built with the current threats in mind.
It’s critical to routinely conduct technology audits to determine which systems need to be updated or replaced entirely. In some cases, you may need to do a complete software overhaul.
4. Improper Data Storage
Data must be properly and securely stored at all times. You know that, of course – but do you know how to do it? Data loss can wreak havoc on a business and become very costly. And it’s not necessarily the result of cybercrime. Often, it’s due to human error and improper storage techniques.
Today, cloud-computing platforms are considered the most secure and efficient means of backing up and storing data. This will help give you peace of mind that the information you keep is protected and accessible to those who need it from practically any location in the world.
But it’s not enough to simply implement a cloud storage solution. Because nothing is 100% risk-free, you should also have a thorough disaster recovery plan in place in case something goes wrong. Along with cloud-based platforms, this plan should include external storage solutions, backup solutions, and more.
5. No Longview Plan
Given how many issues can arise at any given time, you should avoid waiting for problems to present themselves. Instead, it’s important to develop an overarching plan for your organization and its technology.
A solid long view plan not only includes proactive solutions for problems that arise — it must also address new technologies that can improve your organization. This plan should take goals, benchmarks, and KPIs into account, considering different approaches for making your organization a better one.
The best course of action is to work closely with your IT team — whether it’s in-house or an outsourced provider — to devise solutions for threats, as well as identify opportunities to grow and evolve as a business.