Technology is central to almost any modern business. Just about every aspect of a company — payroll, sales, logistics or resource management — can be streamlined with the right solution.
However, even if you have the perfect tech for your business, you won’t see the full benefits if you don’t use it correctly. In some cases, mistakes can even cost your company by making it less efficient or more vulnerable to issues like hacks or cyberattacks.
Here are seven tech mistakes your business is probably making, how they cost you and how you can avoid them.
1. Not Being Mobile Friendly
Mobile devices account for more than half of all internet traffic, and almost every American spends some time of their day browsing the web on their phone. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, it could load slower on cell phones or be harder to navigate. About 70% of users say page speed impacts their willingness to buy products, according to data from Unbounce — which means that not optimizing for mobile could be costing your conversions.
If you built your site with a website builder tool, it might already work for mobile devices. If you designed it yourself or hired a designer, you should check whether or not it’s optimized for mobile and update it as needed.
2. Not Hiring Tech Support
While you may think you can get away with not hiring IT staff, hiring a tech support worker or team — or contracting out help as needed — can make your business’s technology much easier to handle.
IT workers can set up your network, coordinate different pieces of software and hardware, and maintain company systems. They’ll also work to keep everything secure and handle any tech-related crises — like broken equipment or network vulnerabilities — reducing the risk of downtime and data loss.
It may be possible to keep your business running without IT staff, but having tech support available is the best way to ensure smooth operations.
3. Not Keeping Hardware Up To Date
Old and underpowered computers can seriously harm productivity — especially if they’ve begun to slow down and take a long amount of time to boot or launch essential work tools.
You can adopt a tech replacement schedule to make sure your hardware is powerful enough for your business’s needs. Aim to replace computers every three or so years — about the lifespan of modern Windows versions. This may seem a little too frequent, but as hardware becomes more powerful, prices on equipment that is good, but no longer cutting-edge, will drop. Three years is a good amount of time to wait if you want to balance equipment cost against the upgrades in power you’ll get from newer hardware.
4. Using Outdated Software
There can be serious costs to not using the latest version of a digital tool. Older versions are more likely to have serious security vulnerabilities and not work with newer technology. If you don’t keep your software up to date, you may also miss out on new features, and the company’s support line may not be able to help you troubleshoot issues.
Maintaining a regular software update schedule will ensure you’re always working with the best possible versions of your tech.
5. Not Backing up Your Data
You want essential company data stored in a place where you know it will be safe, even if your central method of storage fails. Data loss can be extremely costly — expensive enough to bankrupt some businesses, according to data from IBM.
The proliferation of cloud storage services over the past few years means it is easier to create backups than ever before. Many even offer multi-tiered plans that make it affordable for businesses of all sizes to back up their data. For extra security, you can go further and maintain a physical backup in addition to the cloud.
6. Not Taking Security Seriously
Skimping on security can mean significant costs for your business. Often, we think of cyberattacks as mostly targeting big operations that have lots of valuable financial data. Even small companies, however, are vulnerable to hackers and cybercriminals. About 43% of all cyberattacks target small businesses, and the average cost of a breach is often enough to force closure.
Hiring cybersecurity or IT workers with strong skills and implementing their recommendations — or even simply training your employees in basic online security, like how to recognize a phishing attack — can help protect your company against cyberthreats.
7. Not Providing Employee Training
The best tool can only help you so much if your employees don’t know how to use it. This is especially true if you don’t have IT on-site — if your team can’t figure something out, they’ll be on their own.
Teaching your employees how to use new tools will ensure they can operate them effectively. It will also help them perform basic troubleshooting without assistance from IT.
This training doesn’t need to be extensive, but it should cover the basics of any tools your company uses.
Avoiding Common Business Tech Pitfalls
Selecting the right hardware and software can make your business run much smoother. At the same time, however, implementing it poorly can cause serious issues — like increased risk of downtime or costly data breaches.
Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid most common business tech mistakes. Updating software regularly and training employees in software use and security best practices typically won’t cost your business anything and can yield serious benefits.
Lexie is a freelance web designer and UX strategist. She loves all things design and spending time with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.