Yauhen Zaremba is the Director of Demand Generation at PandaDoc, an all-in-one document management solution and free electronic sign-in sheet software. He’s been a marketer for 10+ years, and for the last five years, he’s been entirely focused on the electronic signature, proposal, and document management markets. Yauhen has experience speaking at niche conferences, where he enjoys sharing his expertise with other curious marketers. And in his spare time, he is an avid fisherman and takes nearly 20 fishing trips yearly.
Small enterprises must make tough decisions to grow their business. Limited budgets and a lack of knowledge and experience can impact decision-making regarding tech. Tech mistakes can result in business failure, but they can be avoided. Let’s explore six common tech mistakes made by growing businesses.
Choosing Cheap IT Solutions
Selecting the cheapest hardware and software tools is a common mistake that can be detrimental to new businesses, often incurring greater costs rather than saving money. The most affordable tech equipment isn’t suitable for heavy-duty business use.
Small business personnel spend thousands of hours in front of the tools of their trade. Business owners should invest in equipment that meets their needs rather than skimping on something to make do.
The cheapest hardware and software will not keep up, and without suitable warranties or support, enterprises can spend more to repair and replace tech, losing time and productivity. This will affect every aspect of your business, from lead generation to maintaining your CRM.
Even with a tight budget, you can consider lease plans or credit deals to help ensure that you have the right equipment for your business’s needs, whether you require inventory management functions or invoicing software. Ensure your tech features efficient processors, high-speed RAM, generous storage space, and upgrades to ensure it can grow with your business.
Not Using IT Professionals
Another common mistake is using friends and family with IT knowledge to set up their tech. If they’re IT professionals—great! Make the most of their expertise and save resources for growing your business.
But if they’re not IT professionals, it could cost you more in the long term. For example, if you want to learn how to write a contract proposal, you seek advice from experts, not those who may have written a couple of contracts and think they know what to do.
You may think you saved a fortune by allowing your tech student neighbor to set up your business server, but when things go wrong (and something always goes wrong), you’ll need the services of an IT professional.
But they won’t know how the student set up your system because they had no professional documentation. This results in a long and expensive job and, again, lost time and productivity. To avoid this, use IT professionals to ensure your tech is set up and maintained correctly.
Unrestricted BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
Everyone loves the comfort of using familiar tech. To keep their employees happy and save money, many businesses allow personnel to use their own devices in the workplace. This can be effective if employees like to keep everything in one place, for example, if they learned how to make a cool signature and store it on a single device.
However, many small and growing businesses forget to implement rules and restrictions, potentially causing serious and expensive problems. Mishandled data and poor encryption are the tip of the iceberg for unrestricted use of personal devices in the workplace. Enterprises risk data breaches and financial penalties for not complying with legislation.
Plus, individual devices may not have the latest cybersecurity features and threaten your network and every endpoint connected to that network. While BYOD may be a great way to save money, unrestricted use exposes your business to security risks.
The cost of rectifying those risks, not to mention any legal ramifications and the subsequent damage to your business reputation, could be the death of your operation. The average financial cost of a data breach in 2022 is $4.35 million, which is a 2.6% increase from 2021 and a 12.7% increase from 2020. If you allow BYOD, ensure you have a robust policy that includes mobile devices and provide adequate training to ensure all employees are aware of the security risks:
- Password management and authentication.
- Cloud managment.
- Phishing attacks.
- Using public wi-fi.
- Physical security.
- Malware awareness.
- Social media use.
- Removable media.
Failing to Backup Data
Data loss can have a significant impact on growing businesses. Putting backups off until later puts your business’s data at serious risk of loss, and failure to recover it could be detrimental. The responsibility to prevent data loss lies with every employee, not just the IT team, and is an important part of business continuation plan software.
Everyone needs to ensure they store data in the correct place and back it up regularly. All employees must understand that delaying a backup means data cannot be restored if systems fail.
Regular data backups are essential to ensure data can be recovered quickly and easily. Cloud storage and data recovery software are becoming increasingly popular to help overcome these potential pitfalls for small businesses.
Failing to Update Hardware and Software
If you’ve invested in the best hardware and software, it’s tempting to make the most of your money by using the equipment until it becomes inoperable. According to Business News Daily, you can expect a lifespan of five to eight years for a desktop and three to five years for a laptop, but only if they’re maintained and updated properly.
Waiting until tech fails can lead to increased costs when transferring your processes to more advanced systems. Let’s not forget the increased security risks associated with outdated hardware and software and the legal and financial ramifications of failing to comply with legislation if your systems become the victim of cybercriminals.
Plan to replace hardware every three to five years, but software should be updated frequently. Providers should schedule updates at varying intervals, which shouldn’t be ignored or delayed until necessary. It’s also important to evaluate all devices and software regularly to ensure they’re running the most recent updates, particularly regarding security patches.
Data security has become an increasingly important factor in a business’s reputation and success. Hackers are ruthless, and cybercrime can be devastating for small businesses. According to Renolon, 43% of cyber-crimes target small businesses, and 70% of small businesses are unprepared to deal with the effects of an attack.
To survive, small businesses should focus on prevention. Suitable security software should be installed and updated regularly. Offer employees up-to-date training regarding data storage and protection, phishing, and using strong passwords and email encryption.
Tech Mistakes Can Be Avoided
Enterprises can’t function without technology these days, and it’s tempting for small companies to skimp on tech budgets to focus resources on growing their business. However, perceived savings can be wiped out and enormous costs incurred when that technology fails or succumbs to a cyberattack.
Many of the tech mistakes made by growing businesses can be avoided to ensure the security of their systems, save resources, and ensure sustainability.