Today’s competitive market forces SMBs to use technology that improves their productivity, communications and customer success. Unfortunately, many SMB leaders don’t have enough experience to run IT networks properly, which can open companies up to issues ranging from mismatched solutions to malware and data theft.
Unless someone on your staff has a lot of experience in IT, there’s a chance that you’re making at least one of these five biggest SMB IT network mistakes.
Failing to plan for the future
Right now, your company may have fewer than 100 devices connected to the IT network. That could change significantly over the next few years, though.
If your network can’t handle the increased capacity, then you’ll end up spending a lot of money on new technology.
Even if your company maintains the same number of employees, there is a good chance that you will need improved network performance within a decade as you start to use more internet-ready devices. Experts expect the Internet of Things (IoT) market to reach $9,000 billion by 2020.
That prediction suggests that your network will need to handle requests from more devices.
Forgetting to update software and firmware
Hackers are constantly looking for new ways to attack vulnerable IT networks. In return, software and hardware developers keep updating their products to prevent attacks. More likely than not, the cat and mouse game will never end.
If you forget to keep your software and firmware updated, then hackers will have easy access to your network. Once they gain entry, they can steal your sensitive data, including client credit card numbers and employee records.
Evolving network security must play a role in your business plan. Without it, you’ll become a target.
Letting employees use unapproved applications
Shadow IT includes any unapproved applications your employees use.
At first, shadow IT can seem like a good thing, especially if it increases productivity and accuracy. But if you don’t know what apps your employees are using, then you don’t know when to require updates and keep your IT network secure.
Eventually, someone will use an unapproved app that weakens your network security. Without the right security in place, a hacker could use shadow IT to steal data and install malware. One day, things seem fine. The next day, a hacker has control of your network and wants to hold access ransom.
Create a strict policy against shadow IT and monitor your network to make sure everyone follows the rule.
Using old hardware
In 2007, the average internet connection speed in the United States was a mere 3.67 Mbps. By the beginning of 2017, the average had increased to 18.75 Mbps.
Internet connection speeds rely on more than your ISP improving its services. You need the latest IT network hardware to keep up with the faster pace. If you’re still using hardware from a decade ago, then you’re productivity is suffering.
If you’re not sure whether your hardware can support today’s speeds, then you can hire a certified security engineer to review your network and offer suggestions.
Assuming that the network is okay
If you don’t test your network, then you don’t know whether it’s secure or not. Never assume that your network is okay just because you don’t notice any problems.
The best hackers know how to hide their activities so they don’t get recognized. That way, they can continue exploiting your system for years.
Fix those IT network mistakes
If you know that your SMB is guilty of these mistakes, then you may need proactive IT support to identify and solve security risks.
Don’t let your business become a victim. The results can cost thousands of dollars to correct. Plus, you could lose your customers’ confidence.