Business Technology

8 ways bad IT can ruin your business

8 min read

20 October 2015

Every business embraces IT at some level as a tool for sourcing, communicating and storing information – but if you get this wrong, you could cause more damage than you may realise.

Choose the wrong IT tools for the job and your business will suffer as a result. In some cases, the wrong IT can even ruin your business. 

Here is a list of the common fails of IT in business.

1. Inadequate back-up 

Admin, emails, finances, customer and business contacts, client projects and legal documents – the list of data assets that need to be safely backed up spans your business. Some SMEs don’t back-up at all. Some rely on external hard drives or discs, which copy over computer-stored assets at the end of the day or week. 

But nowadays there is no excuse not to back-up in the cloud which is by far the safest way to protect as well as continually update your entire business. Cloud storage means that even if your office is hit by a physical disaster that destroys the premises, all the data assets – which comprise the real business – will be extractable almost immediately in any other location. Backing up in the cloud makes you bulletproof to all threats. 

2. Poor security protocols with staff

This is an age old dilemma; getting your staff to create random, complex passwords – long sequences with special characters and random case changes on letters. If your staff use Password 1, consider their computer and everything on it an open book to the world. A good password generator can be found here: https://xkpasswd.net/s/. 

You will obviously need good anti-virus protection against a range of malware. Security protocols can extend to flagging and blocking personal social media, pornography and other inappropriate use of business computers – as often these sites not only distract from work but invite malware.

You also need to think about business use on personal smart devices that leave the building. Have strong rules so there is no grey area here where malware or random people can pry into your business data. You can monitor devices for such use 24/7 with a good Managed Services provider.

Read more on IT in the workplace:

3. The wrong equipment for the task

Make sure your computers are good enough not to impede performance in business. Better to fork out at the start, so you can do the job required than have to re-invest later.

Go for brands you recognise and trust and invest in long warranties. Consider speed of processing power and try out the operating system to make sure you are comfortable with it.

4. Reliant on slow IT support 

Downtime caused when your computer or server is down can leak money and lead to dissatisfied customers as well as a spoiled reputation. If you rely on a ‘break and fix’ style IT support then be aware of the money you are losing. 

For instance, for a £2m company with 20 staff, ‘downtime’ means losses of over £1,000 every hour. Because IT service levels have traditionally been poor, some organisations have been led to believe that a system’s ‘downtime’ rate of ten per cent is inevitable and moaning won’t change that. 

But over the year, losing 100-200 working hours can make the difference between whether a company survives or not. You need to find an IT partner to work in a closer partnership with you if you do not have your own IT staff.

Continue reading on the next page to find out why goals can be misaligned, how IT is the skeleton and blood flow for your firm, and why the right software can be a game-changer.

Image: Shutterstock

5. The wrong software

Consider your software requirements very carefully as software is crucial to business performance, and there is always a range to choose from. A graphic designer might need Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, while an accountant might need Sage. 

Make sure you research software and match against functionality needs. Sometimes startups simply rely on Office and try and get by when, in contrast, specialist software can be a game-changer for efficiency, growth and business performance. 

All sectors have their industry proven software so make sure you are aware of the best to suit your needs.

6. Misaligned goals for IT and business

IT is the skeleton and the blood flow of your business. If your IT provider or purchasing decisions do not allow for scaling up and growth you will regret it. This is relevant to your server network, your phone system, your software licences and your choices of general office hardware. 

Further to this – IT functionality needs to reflect perfectly and efficiently the desired functionality of the business. Sounds obvious but many companies don’t always realise how much better they could be performing with an intelligent IT strategy and implementation.

Read more from Richard Forsyth:

7. Lack of training
Having state of the art IT is only a good thing when people know how to use it properly. For example, it’s amazing that most people only use the mere basic functions of their work software when the software has vast capabilities. 

A tool only half used is therefore only half as useful. Invest in as little as a day’s training for any aspect of IT and employees will have a more rounded knowledge of the capabilities of their software, and their ability and performance may improve as a result.

8. Competitors have better systems 

This is especially important for customer-facing IT. If someone has a better CRM system than their competitor, it stands to reason they may have better, more competent customer interaction and therefore be more competitive as a business.

A special thank you for advice and information for this article to Adam Harling, director of Netitude, a managed IT services company based in the South West of the UK.

Richard Forsyth is the content manager at web specialist Varn Media