Technology is one of the most powerful drivers of success for small and medium-sized businesses. Effective use of IT is associated with increased agility, greater productivity, better data security practices, and enhanced employee collaboration.
However, the management of IT can be challenging, particularly as businesses scale. Without the right infrastructure in place, IT can quickly become a burden, rather than a facilitator of growth. This article shares some of the most common IT issues faced by businesses and how you can overcome them.
The Top 12 IT Issues for Businesses
Businesses can face an exponential number of IT issues, but the twelve challenges listed below are some of the most common – and some of the most problematic if left unaddressed.
Common IT Issues
In today’s workplace, the following IT issues can create significant problems for your business, and are becoming increasingly widespread.
1. Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
Having a data backup plan enables your business to protect critical files from loss or attack. However, the main challenge emerges when deciding what data needs to be backed up, how frequently, and for how long. In the event of a breach, companies also need to have an official disaster recovery plan to mitigate damage and recover lost data. Unfortunately, many small and medium-sized businesses overlook this need, which can lead to catastrophic IT issues in the long term.
2. IT Cybersecurity Risks
Cybersecurity is another critical IT consideration for SMBs. Modern-day hackers are ruthless and sophisticated, leaving businesses increasingly vulnerable. Cyber attacks can lead your organization to expose intellectual property, customer information and data, confidential communications, employee records, and more. In many businesses, the IT department is held responsible for cybersecurity, but limited resources and expertise can mean this issue doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. Unfortunately, this approach can leave you exposed to costly breaches and extensive downtime.
3. Password Management
Many organizations are guilty of recycling passwords or using weak passwords to protect their critical assets. Forgotten passwords and downtime due to password recovery are also commonplace among employees. This IT issue is one of the leading causes of cybersecurity breaches and associated data losses. Better password management and the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) can dramatically reduce your vulnerability to attack.
4. Onboarding and Offboarding
Effective onboarding and offboarding of employees relies heavily on IT, from gathering and storing paperwork, to setting new hires up with access to company resources. Such processes are time-consuming if your HR department doesn’t have access to adequate resources, especially if they experience IT issues with existing systems.
5. IT Compliance
Research indicates that over 40% of small and medium-sized businesses lack the technical know-how to understand ever-changing IT compliance regulations. The same survey shows that 25% of SMBs have outsourced IT compliance work at some point. Navigating regulatory compliance can be complicated, but ignoring your obligations can have costly consequences.
6. Data Sprawl
Most modern businesses are grappling with data sprawl, which compromises the quality of data generated, and impacts the ability to extract value from this data. As companies produce and collect more and more data, the management of this vital resource becomes an even more pressing IT issue.
7. Device Procurement and Management
Having full visibility of all devices being used within your organization is crucial to maintain security and employee productivity. With the right solutions in place, IT teams should also be able to monitor the health of these devices, and remotely roll out patches and upgrades as needed. When IT issues arise in this area, it can seriously impact the output of remote teams.
IT Strategy and Management Issues
A fundamental point to note is that small and medium-sized businesses don’t just experience difficulties with the technical aspects of IT. In fact, IT strategy and management issues can cause even more problems than technical glitches. Some of the most common IT management challenges include:
8. Limited IT Budgets
As businesses scale, budgets can be tight. Often, leadership will opt to invest in product development, marketing, or other growth initiatives rather than vital IT infrastructure. While this may seem sensible in the short term, it can mean seemingly small IT issues worsen over time and generate greater challenges in the long run.
9. Competition for IT Talent
The competition for talent has never been higher, especially when it comes to experienced IT professionals. An inability to recruit or retain qualified IT workers can impact almost every aspect of your business, from ensuring employees have the devices and resources they need, to protecting sensitive data from cyber attack.
10. A Lack of Expertise
Even if you are lucky enough to have a number of IT professionals working for your company, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee they will have the specific expertise you need to scale and grow. If highly complex IT issues arise, you may find that your internal resources are unable to remedy the problem.
11. Competing Priorities for IT Teams
Another challenge for in-house IT personnel is that they typically have many competing priorities that pull them in multiple directions. This all-too-common problem can put pressure on existing resources and result in errors or incomplete work.
12. Out-of-Hours Support
Finally, most small businesses with limited in-house resources will struggle to deal with serious IT issues such as cyber attacks if they occur outside of business hours. Likewise, if a specific employee is sick or on vacation, your company can be left vulnerable while they are offline.
5 Benefits of Outsourcing to Overcome IT Issues
Many of the most common IT issues faced by businesses can be resolved by outsourcing to external experts. A managed IT solution can take care of a wide range of IT support services, including device and inventory management, security and compliance, network and server management, applications and cloud management, and real-time support. By outsourcing, your business can realize the following benefits:
1. Cost control
With the right partner, you will only pay for services you actually need and use. This makes budgeting easier, and spending more efficient.
2. Reduced labor costs
Outsourcing allows you to streamline labor costs that would otherwise be spent on hiring and training additional internal employees.
3. Enhanced efficiency
External specialists can enhance your business efficiency by ensuring you get the most out of your IT solutions and reducing downtime.
4. Reduced risks
Having access to dedicated cybersecurity professionals significantly reduces your risk of cyber attack and data breaches.
5. Enhanced compliance and security
Partnering with an external specialist ensures you have access to the latest knowledge on industry regulations.
Don’t Let IT Issues Impact Business Growth
While technology undeniably contributes to innovation and growth, managing IT in-house can be an overwhelming task for small and medium-sized businesses. To learn more about how you can overcome common IT issues and streamline your organization’s IT, contact Electric today. Our IT Solution supports your business at the network, application, and device levels, and features IT capabilities that are proactive, comprehensive, and customized to your needs.