3 Technology Mistakes Most Small Businesses Make and How You Can Avoid Them
Small businesses have been getting dominated by big businesses for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even worse. Thousands of small businesses were driven out of business while their larger counterparts have largely survived and, in some cases, even grown. Small businesses have long been the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, they create two-thirds of net new jobs and generate 44% of economic activity.
If your business is fortunate enough to have survived the pandemic, we want to offer some technology tips to keep in mind as we move forward in 2021 and beyond. Here are the top 3 mistakes we see being made by small businesses and our advice on how you can avoid these mistakes.
Mistake 1: When it comes to Technology, don’t try to do it all yourself.
When our car breaks down, we take it to a mechanic. Even though you think you might be able to fix the issue yourself, you’ve got higher priorities to tend to. Remember the last time you tried to fix the car and you ended up wasting a weekend on it only to make the matter worse? Your spouse probably does😉
The same logic applies to your IT. Even though we all tend to think of ourselves as tech savvy (and many of us are), if we want to ensure our business can pivot and evolve no matter what the circumstances, it’s best to have a Managed Services Provider (MSP) to lean on for your technology needs. MSP’s typically include a team of engineers or specialists from various IT fields, and together, they provide various IT services such as network management, help desk support, IT consulting, cybersecurity, and cloud support. Many of whom have spent years in the classroom training to manage your businesses technology needs.
Mistake 2: Don’t buy hardware (or software) for your small business directly from a retailer such as Best Buy or Costco or Amazon
We get it. Their prices look so cheap. This is a classic instance of if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Here’s the problem with those advertisements: On most occasions, that PC that you saw for $399 doesn’t come with the software you’ll most likely need and want so about an hour after you’ve unboxed the computer, you’ll find yourself spending nearly double or triple the amount you paid for the computer on the software you need.
By purchasing hardware through a Managed Services Provider (MSP), you’ll most likely end up saving money for a couple reasons. First, any MSP worth their salt will have existing relationships with multiple vendors, giving them leverage to find the best prices for the hardware your business needs. Like an insurance broker, MSP’s can quite literally price shop and negotiate pricing for you, giving you access to real prices you’d never see at a retail chain. Read more about the benefits of MSP’s and how to select the right one.
Secondly, like car manufacturers, factories will occasionally produce a lemon. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it’s nice to have an MSP to lean on when you need to gather specific information such as warranties, product keys, certificates of authenticity, licenses and original installation media in a single, easily accessible location.
Mistake 3: They don’t take cybersecurity seriously
Many small business owners assume that because they are small, they won’t be targeted by malicious actors. This could not be further from the truth, especially considering that there were over 10 million SMB data breaches in 2020.
Here are a few statistics to chew on:
- The average cost of ransomware is $200,000
- 43% of small businesses lack any type of cybersecurity defense plans
- 20% of SMBs don’t use any Endpoint Security Protections
- 60% of SMB’s who are breached go out of business within six months
Cybercriminals know where their bread is buttered. Small businesses are low hanging fruit because, odds are, the small business doesn’t have the firepower to defend against an attack.
Like insurance, investing in cybersecurity is a necessary evil. Also, like insurance, cybersecurity is affordable. The pricing largely depends on the following:
- How many employees do you have?
- How sensitive is the data you’re handling on a day-to-day basis?
- Are you in a regulated industry (e.g., healthcare, financial)?
The first step is recognizing that, no matter how small your business is, you’re a target. Lexington Geek offers a variety of cyber-security tools to prevent data breaches. We also offer security awareness training packages, which is an affordable way to keep your employees educated and aware of the latest phishing trends, how to spot them and so forth.