No matter the size of your business, IT issues have become an everyday irritation for many companies. And just like other obstacles you might come up against in your typical operations, the size and severity of these problems vary from case to case.
But, there are measures you can take to prevent the adverse consequences of an IT oversight. We’ve compiled a list of the 5 most common issues that SMEs face, and what you can do to avoid them:
- Virus and malware infections
Just the mention of a computer virus is enough to instil fear into an SME owner, but it’s amazing how little attention is paid to protecting against them. This is a definite situation where prevention by far outweighs cure, as removing an infection once it has infiltrated your system can be very costly, result in data breaches and lead to further complications.While most computer systems do have some form of anti-virus software installed, it’s essential that these are kept up to date in order to perform effectively. These programmes work to identify potential threats by comparing them to an ever-evolving ‘library’ of existing malware. This means your protection won’t work against any new bugs if you fail to update the software!
- Neglected system updates
In much the same way, staying on top of Windows or Mac system updates is equally important to ensure the smooth running of your IT system. As well as helping reduce exposure to security vulnerabilities, up-to-date systems are also faster and more efficient too.We’re all guilty of hitting the little ‘X’ in the corner of those flashing yellow windows, that seem to pop up on-screen at the most inconvenient moments – but clicking on ‘remind me later’ instead will ensure you don’t forget about it. To keep productivity in the office high, the best time to install updates is at the end of the day, using the option to ‘shut down and install updates’. Doing it this way means you won’t all be sat twiddling your thumbs while you wait for the progress bar to crawl to 100%!
- WiFi security
We know we’ve mentioned this before, and it won’t be the last time! But ensuring your WiFi is secure and private, is key to protecting your business from cyber security threats. Keeping unwanted users out of your network isn’t as difficult as you might think, and there’s no reason that your SME needs to fall foul of breaches because of a flimsy password.
Many users leave their WiFi codes set to the manufacturer’s default, wrongly believing that the seemingly indecipherable mix of letters and numbers makes it a strong option. But setting a strong password yourself is far better, and the best ones are over 10 characters long, with upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Inputting numbers in place of letters, and uppercase letters in the middle of words rather than just at the beginning, further improves effectivity.
- Remote working
Whether you occasionally work from home, or prefer tackling more arduous projects with a double espresso at your local café, remote working can be a great way to mix up the routine of your business. It’s certainly an approach that is increasing in popularity, with new public WiFi hotspots popping up every other day. However, connecting to a public network does have its risks, and it’s crucial that these aren’t overlooked by SMEs.
When you access public WiFi on your computer or device, others connected to the same network can access and intercept your data more easily – which can be especially damaging if it’s work-related. The best way to stay safe while remotely working is to set up a Virtual Private Network, which creates a ‘tunnel’ between your device and wherever you are sending and receiving data from, protecting your work from prying eyes.
- Backing up files
Long gone are the days of endless filing cabinets and photocopying everything for the company archives. While computerised databases and online storage make backing up data quicker and more convenient, it’s easy for businesses to become over-reliant on automated backups and lose track of where these are.
Copying files and storing them safely gives you peace of mind, but is also a critical part of the recovery process, should your business suffer a major IT fault or attack. Having an effective backup procedure in place is crucial, and protecting these duplicated files from being targeted by attackers is also important. Whether you choose to use cloud storage or an external hard-drive for your copies, make sure you protect them with strong passwords as you would your primary files.
Q2Q provides proactive managed IT support solutions for SMEs to help their systems run smoothly. Contact us to find out more about protecting your business from common IT issues.