You know your industry and what it takes to run a successful business, right? Each day, leaders of organizations, small and large, are faced with technology decisions that they might not be qualified to make.

Save your company time and money by avoiding these common IT mistakes.

Old PC

Not knowing when to say when on old hardware

One of the most common mistakes that I encounter is business leaders not knowing when to say goodbye to old hardware, trying to stretch beyond the lifespan.

Outdated computer hardware usually costs small businesses more in the long run and they don’t even know it. I don’t blame them though. It’s natural to think that by keeping hardware longer you’ll save money, but in actuality this method will increase the support costs of these computers. Older hardware runs much slower and is far less efficient.

Hardware typically has a lifespan of three-to-four years. By replacing the machines more regularly, the savings in productivity well offset the cost savings that you thought you were receiving by keeping those old machines around. When replacement time arrives, consider virtual desktops in the cloud. This option has the potential of eliminating hardware costs altogether.

Investing in technology, but not training

Often the value of training is overlooked and sometimes viewed as a waste of time and money. But when owners start to invest in technology to grow, they often forget about training their team in the process.

By investing in a little training, staff can use their new knowledge to complete tasks quicker and reduces the on-the-job learning survey. Where do you find the time? Consider in-house lunch and learn sessions throughout the year to maintain skill-sets, introduce new shortcuts and tips, encourage them to subscribe to blogs and routinely review processes. For the cost of a few pizza’s and a couple hours of a trainer’s time, your staff can keep up to date on time saving skills that will keep your employees productive and happy.

Cyber criminals don’t discriminate by size

Never underestimate the importance of maintaining security standards for your mission. I frequently hear that owners feel their business is not large enough for cyber attackers to invest their time in. Think again.

No business is off limits with these criminals. In fact, most attacks today are automated and don’t discriminate the target by size. A few months ago I wrote about keeping control of your company’s data and the importance of password policies. Don’t fall into the trap that these policies aren’t necessary; they are critical to the safety of your business data no matter the size. If you feel there is no data to steal, they can still use your business as a distribution point for their attack. Every network is vulnerable.

Not planning for technology

Have a technology plan. I can’t overstate the importance of this. With the ever changing landscape of technology and the important role it has in running a successful business, you must have IT in your budget. You never want to be caught off guard with a big change and a perfect example was the recent retirement of Microsoft’s Windows XP. Some businesses were completely unprepared and were forced to spend a large amount of unbudgeted funds to replace outdated systems. Track what is changing with technology within your industry. You should always have an idea as to what is happening and work alongside your technology expert to plan a strategy and budget for future enhancements.

Obviously your organization is important to you. Avoid these common mistakes by planning and budgeting for your IT needs. With the appropriate preparation your business can streamline work, automate processes and reach its goals.

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