SAS 70

Feb 11 2019   8:52AM GMT

Common Technology Problems Affecting Small Businesses

Keith Harrell Profile: SAS70ExPERT

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For technology professionals, many of the problems once associated with the personal computer, e-mail, mobile devices and various kinds of business software have been solved. Years of bug-fixes, best practices improvements, general stability improvements and education have created a world where struggling with technology is rare. Many are unaware of just how much better things are now than they used to be.

That said, there are some issues businesses contend with that aren’t all that common among other kinds of users. Further, many businesses share these common technology problems while they search for solutions. The time and expense devoted to workarounds, delays and alternatives can be a persistent and significant drag on a company’s productivity and profitability. Here are some of those common problems and some potential solutions.

Filing

Any company that generates significant document volume contends with the filing system problem likely on a daily basis. Where do you put files? What do you call them? How can our office staff tell what is in a file? Do they have to open it? What software should they use?

Like the time-draining practice of checking e-mail several times a day, trying to figure out where to put your documents and what to call them can be a mind-bogglingly expensive and unexpectedly complicated problem. Can your office manager find any document stored on your computer systems with only a general description? Can your documents be internally searched from a general interface? Not being able to find the right document can bring any project to a screeching halt. Just ask your accountant or lawyer.

The solution to the filing problem is the same as the one related to e-mail: Your company should set a written policy and spend the time necessary to train everyone in how to comply with it. Once the entire office is speaking the same “document language” the ability of your staff to store and locate files, documents, images and other digital assets will improve and your productivity will follow.

Day to Day Security

Simply put, the average businessperson has no idea how vulnerable their technology is until they are educated on the subject. It then stands to reason their employees are equally uncertain when it comes to protecting their data, their information systems and their customer relationships. On any given day, there are likely to be at least a couple of stories in the news about identity theft, data breaches and privacy invasions affecting huge numbers of people. These large-scale security issues make great headlines, but they also distract entrepreneurs and managers from the fact big companies aren’t the only ones facing these kinds of problems.

Like the e-mail and document issues, improving security relies almost entirely on education. Until a company, and more importantly its employees can recognize a security threat, it is far more difficult to defend against it.

Backups

If you lose your data, you can lose your company. It really can be that simple. “When you have a technology emergency, your whole company could be down until the issue is resolved,” say IT experts at Tekhattan. The number of companies without a working and reliable backup plan is shocking considering the value of their data. The only reason backups are a continuing problem is because a fair number of companies don’t become aware of it until disaster strikes. The other reason is backups require both hardware and software components, and being an expert in either one is tough enough. Being an expert in both is often out of reach for executives, given their commitments elsewhere.

Backups are important enough they should be assigned to a competent group of employees or to an outside firm that specializes in the right tools and services.

Technology problems only remain problems if they are unaddressed. The major issue at some companies is that infrastructure isn’t sexy enough to excite people. The reality, however, is that the kinds of disasters that can occur in the absence of solid technology infrastructure aren’t all that sexy either.

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