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Technology is an integral part of a successful business. There are no ifs, ands, or buts around that. From workers’ devices and network connectivity to production and engineering, when you’re between the four walls of an office, technology is all around you.
That means when something goes wrong, the ripple effect is felt across the board.
Large businesses or companies with extra capital can cope better when these ripples occur. Small-to-medium sized business who may not have the manpower or the funds notice a bigger hit to production when technology problems come knocking. It begs the question—what’s the best way to navigate technology issues in a small business workspace?
Here are some of the scariest tech spooks you may come across as a business owner and entrepreneur, and how to deal with them:
Spook #1: No IT Team
Things are broken and you have no IT staff in house. This problem happens more than you think. Small-to-medium sized businesses, especially, may not have the need or the capital to keep IT personnel on staff at all times. Most days, it’s not an issue, until something breaks that no one knows how to fix—or worse, something is hacked.
Imagine getting attacked by ransomware, when you’ve had no in-house expert to back up documentation and databases or to offer help with mitigation once the attack has occurred. When this happens in real life, many small businesses are left in the lurch, with no hope or immediate plan for recovery.
Solution #1: Virtual IT Team
While IT contractors can prove beneficial in these circumstances, they can also be expensive and require an annual contract when you may only need or use them a couple months out of the year. Invest in programs like Virtual IT assistant for the expert insight and help you need to make sure things are running smoothly, while also easy-to-use and affordable for your small business.
Spook #2: Unknown Vulnerability Gaps
Picture this: Your house is in a prominent location. Every day, more than a thousand people walk by and jiggle the handle to check whether or not your door is locked. One day, you accidentally leave in a hurry and forget to lock up. Suddenly these nosy thieves have free reign of your home while you’re gone—unbeknownst to you. You have no idea what you’ll find when you get home, and by then, it may be too late.
This is a common fear for business owners, as they hope and trust that all personnel or contractors dealing with entry points to the company site and database have double-checked safeguards and protections to keep wrongdoers out. Sometimes, even when you take those precautions, an error or oversight can still occur and hackers find their way in. When this happens, it can be hard to detect until something obvious goes wrong.
Solution #2: Get Expert Insight
Get a Health Check Report of your system on a frequent basis to ensure that outside firewall security measures are up to snuff, that your email servers and DNS are valid, to scan system availability, and to be alerted when your site has been used for any malicious phishing or malware purposes. With the Virtual IT assistant's Health Check Report, you have experts looking into your infrastructure to help you uncover weaknesses and vulnerabilities with solutions for improvement.
Spook #3: Loss of Data and Content
Any level of data loss has a significant impact on a business, especially when data like contact information, payment methods, and solutions are involved. How will you contact your clients or leads if you lose your database? How will your business make money and charge members for recurring purchases or membership fees if you lose all your payment information?
Loss of data can occur in a multitude of ways, from a natural or physical disaster like an earthquake or fire to a hacker scraping the site to plagiarize and reuse your content elsewhere. It’s like a game with Google, where people can find you, scrape your site or content and use it for spam ads or run it elsewhere online as their own content. Companies often need a public site and public information in order to remain competitive, but that means all content is open and available for anyone to grab.
Solutions #3: Practice Redundancy and Run Reports
Check in to make sure redundancy is occurring so that if a tragedy happens, you won’t have to lock your company's doors. Redundancy procedures make sure that files and information are automatically backed up and stored in multiple locations, in case of emergency.
Cloud migration is also important, as it provides an extra form of backup and redundancy, away from your physical location. With our Virtual IT cloud migration services, we can help you move your information to a secure cloud with step-by-step instructions for setup, how to access information once its on the cloud, and how to get Health Check Reports from your cloud provider.
Check out this instructional 5-minute video on how to set up your first cloud environment.
To police stolen content possibilities, designate members of your team to search for and track instances and mentions of your company or specific keywords in order to find anyone who may have scraped articles or product information and repurposed as their own.
Spook #4: Server or e-Service Outage
Do you ever wonder what would happen if you were hit by a domain name system (DNS) attack? Or how you find out and mitigate whether someone takes advantage of the vulnerabilities in your IP address to spread viruses or redirect traffic from your site to a malicious site? It happens and it doesn’t have to.
Same goes for a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, which uses multiple servers and computers to spread Trojan viruses and can cause widespread digital service outages, which is a disservice to clients and potential customers and an obvious security problem for companies.
Solution #4: Turn to the Experts
When you don’t have the resources to hire more people in IT and security, rely on expert help and advice through tools like Live, where you get 1:1 expert help in real time to prepare your infrastructure and mitigate any possible damage. You can also hire out work that needs to be done, reaching for tech freelancers in platforms like Gigs where highly capable experts are willing to help.
Spook #5: Employee Risk
We all do it— download something we maybe shouldn’t, visit a site with info we need even though we’re unsure of the source. All in a day’s work. With each employee you add to your payroll, your chance of a digital attack from internal error increases. Even simple things, like using USB-port giveaways received at a tradeshow or conference, can come heavily laden with viruses.
Solutions #5: Protect, Protect, Protect
Install each device, wireless connection, and external entry point with all the security you can afford—I’m not kidding. Insulate your company well and then work hard on maintenance with tools like the Virtual IT assistant's Health Check Report to determine effectiveness of security measures, to evaluate vulnerabilities, and explore solutions on how to make improvements.
What are some tech spooks you've had to deal with as a business owner? Tell me in the comments below.