Computer technology is at the core of today’s small business, but owners and managers are faced with the question: how do we keep up with the constant changes in the computer world? Will the computers we buy today be obsolete two years from now? And will using outdated computers and software slow my business down or expose it to dangerous exploits?
Here are four common mistakes made by small business leaders when dealing with their company’s computer technology:
- Shortsighted Initial Purchases: Business capital is almost always at a premium and it can be tempting for business owners or managers to try to save money by skimping on their initial investment in computer and network technology. The irony is good quality, name brand equipment will actually save money in the long run, performing better and lasting long after the bargain-priced equipment needs replacing. This doesn’t mean you need to purchase the latest and greatest hardware, but investing in computers with adequate memory, storage space, and CPU power will pay off.
- Failing to keep technology maintenance organized: Backing up every workstation individually on a daily basis in an office full of computers is an incredibly labor-intensive undertaking. Now imagine updating your anti-virus software, applying critical operating system security patches, etc. one-by-one, computer-by-computer. It makes sense and saves you money to keep all your critical data in one central location where it is less prone to damage or loss from human error and it makes just as much sense to perform your technology updates form a central location. Initial outlays for centralized servers and software will pay for themselves through greater productivity and security.
- Allowing unrestricted use of equipment: Just a few minutes a day of personal Internet surfing or e-mail usage by employees can add up fast, and unauthorized Web surfing can be a gateway for dangerous Trojans, viruses, and malware. Every company should have strict rules on use of equipment, and enforce them.
- Waiting for problems to arise: Failure to prevent computer problems is like waiting to run out of oil before you take your car to the shop. It is less costly to be proactive in monitoring your computer network than waiting for things to break. Proactive computer and network maintenance can prevent costly downtime and the frustration it brings to your staff and customers.
The takeaway from this list of computer technology mistakes is that it is often counterproductive to skimp on equipment and computer expertise. Whether you invest in personnel to determine your needs or bring in trained specialists, making the right technology decisions will save you money in the long run.