In our last post, “Part 1,” we listed five critical technology mistakes being made by small to mid-sized businesses. We pick that up here with “Part 2,” five more deadly mistakes you may be making, mistakes that can cripple your business and make you have a very bad day.
MISTAKE #6 - You Think Security Means Rent-a-Cops
Small businesses often don't recognize technology security risks or don't take them seriously.
The Infonetics Research "Costs of Network Security Attacks" report says large U.S. organizations lose 2.2% of their annual income due to security. The FBI estimates computer crime costs more than $400 billion. Right. That’s BILLION.
You can’t hide from the bad boy of IT. Hackers have created innumerable automated programs that scour the Internet 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, seeking poorly secured systems, servers, PCs, and networks to infect.
You need to protect yourself from a compromised systems, robotic attacks, identity and data theft, and other insidious attacks. If you fail to secure client and customer data, you will find yourself in front of the media and your customers getting some bad press, losing sales, and, worst of all, losing the trust.
MISTAKE #7 - You Think You’re Immune to Viruses
OK, do you want to hear a frightening statistic? Yes, you do. Here it is: The BBC reports unprotected PCs become infected within eight seconds of being connected to the Internet. EIGHT SECONDS! Yikes! In his book The Dark Side of the Internet, author Paul Bocij estimates the average virus incident costs organizations $2,500 to fix and recover data. ICSA Labs places businesses' costs even higher at $99,000 per incident.
It’s darn near impossible to keep up with the types of threats out there. Malware programs are evolving at hyper speed and as a result security software vendors are eliminating daily updates and distributing patches every four hours. Viruses typically destroy data, corrupt systems, or enable hackers to remotely control your system.
Many SMBs just don’t have the protection they need. National Cyber Security Alliance studied the problem and found that 67% of respondents did not have up-to-date antivirus software. Some 15% had no antivirus application installed. Come on, people, what’s with this??!!
MISTAKE #8 – You Think Spyware is Clothing for James Bond
If you’re not up on your spyware, you need to get informed quickly. It is equally as threatening as viruses and potentially more damaging.
Spyware is what it sounds like, a tool for spying on you and your clients. Spyware typically tracks user behavior, collects user information or sensitive data, and displays unwanted advertisements.
CompTIA estimates spyware infections require two-and-a-half days to resolve and cost SMBs $8,000 a year, exclusive of lost revenue. CompTIA says a quarter of business users reported their productivity suffered as the result of a recent spyware infection, and more than a third reported being infected multiple times within the last six months, with some reporting being infected as many as ten times!
MISTAKE #9 - You Thought Microsoft Wouldn’t Notice
Your buddy sneaked a thumb drive into your office, giggling, and told you he had a present for you, some bootlegged software. “They’ll never know,” he smirked. Right, and pigs fly. Many organizations subscribe to this faulty thinking. Business Software Alliance estimates 22% of all North American software is unlicensed.
Many people don’t understand the differences between OEM, retail, and open license software. But, most manufacturers, and courts, don’t recognize the “I didn’t know” excuse. They have become quite aggressive using product activation technologies and prosecuting offenders (with the latest figures reaching $81 million in settlements).
Again, ignorance will not play when you get hauled off to court. And, you’re just as guilty if you only "borrowed" applications or pirated programs. You will be audited, penalized, and delayed.
Look, there are no shortcuts to running legitimate operations. You must have a license for all software, applications, and programs. Period.
MISTAKE #10 – You Think All This IT Stuff Costs Too Much
You’re making a BIG mistake if you think of IT as a cost instead of an investment. If you see IT purchases as one-off, big-ticket items, you will probably choose the least expensive option to minimize these costs.
That’s a bad idea. IT is a core function essential to driving the business. It is a game-changing distinction, with results that reach right down into everything from more sales to a better customer experience. You need to invest in a streamlined computing platform. Hardware, software, and operating systems are not standardized across the board, and multiple applications are being used for the same functions. And, you need more than one person who knows about IT. Your network cannot have a single point of failure, and neither can your center of IT knowledge. You need to know if your IT guy leaves tomorrow, you can maintain business as usual.
DON’T MAKE THE 10 CRITICAL MISTAKES
Get a partner, like Vology, who knows IT to help you. It’ll be one of your best investments.