Not verifying backup, or having backup retention
All business owners know that backup is important and often set it up. However, many forget to test or run multi-layer backup retention. Here are some real-life examples that we’ve seen.
Example 1: Many companies do their own backup to save costs. They set it up, test it and assume it’s forever ok. But when a hard drive fails and they go to restore, they find out the backup not been working for the past 2 years. It was never monitored regularly or tested since setup.
Example 2: Many companies have run a single layer backup and get hit by ransomware. Often their backup is on the network or is single layer real-time offsite backup which also get corrupted and inaccessible.
Not implementing appropriate security
The IT security battle is never ending. The thieves out there are getting smarter and ever more sophisticated. Thwarting them is becoming a more difficult task every year.
At a minimum, one needs multi-factor authentication on all important access – email, bank accounts, information systems etc.
Antivirus is a must. System hardening is also advised.
Example: A large not for profit had their email systems hacked, then spoofed (email spoofing is the creation of email messages with a forged sender address) causing them to wire $100k to the thieves. The email systems were easily hacked without 2FA and there were no checks to confirm wire requests were legit.
Information stored in multiple locations requiring double entry.
As businesses grow, the information repositories grow. Often different systems are adopted creating information islands. The end result is having to search across multiple systems for different information. Even worse, the same information needs be entered manually into different systems.
Example: A warehousing and logistics company wanted to expand to sell products online. Although they had a warehouse management system (WMS) with all their inventory counts in a database, a separate online store was built for one of their customers that would replicate data between the store and the WMS.
Then another customer needed the same and they built a 2nd store, and a 3rd and so on until they had a dozen or so separate stores. Then 2 separate reporting systems were built. This became a very costly administrative nightmare with the same data in many places never knowing which was correct when discrepancies arose.
Looking for technology solutions for your data and process management.
Many business owners struggle to manage all the information and documents needed to run their business and projects. This becomes a particular issue as they grow. Often the first thing they do is look for a new piece of technology to help manage their processes or information. What they should first do is understand and document the business process. Then secondly seek IT to meet the needs.
Example: A financial services firm had documentation in different locations that were hard to find. So, they went to google drive to put everything in “one place”. What they ended up with is a large disorganized set of information where staff still had a hard time finding things. No one knew what things were called and the same document was duplicated in many places.
Owner is doing their own IT support
When starting your own business, company systems are very small scale and resemble home-like set-ups.
This works to a point, but many owners continue to do their own IT support when there are 5 or even 10 staff. As the business and size of staff increases and matures, so should the technology which often requires more planning and time to maintain. The business owners focus should be on stability, growth and scalability rather than the time consuming job of managing IT systems and user issues. As the company grows this needs to be delegated. Who is your IT support?
Example: The owner of a design firm with some technical acumen thought it required very little effort to support the team, but once the time was added up, it was found that they spent 4-5 hours a week assisting with technical issue.