How Small Business Owners Can Handle Common Tech Issues on Their Own
Guest post by Ashley Wilson
Small businesses and startups often lack the budget for dedicated IT staff, but they need technology to compete in the modern marketplace.
Owners and managers can find themselves performing the duties that technical support staff would handle.
The good news is that with some research, many of these tasks can be handled by tech-savvy owners and employees.
In this article, we'll outline some of the common tech issues that small business owners can handle themselves to avoid the cost of hiring IT staff.
1. Network Security
Cybersecurity isn't something small businesses can ignore today with the proliferation of threats in recent years. If you process customer payments or store personal information, then security should be at the top of your list. Strong network security for a small business requires a comprehensive security plan.
Hiring a security consultant to help create your plan may be a good idea, but you can execute it yourself in most cases.
It'll take some research if your business is in a regulated industry, but employee training, a solid firewall, and keeping anti-malware software updated on company workstations are tasks you can do yourself.
2. Keep Your Computers Clean and Updated
Computers don't typically require much maintenance, but it's a good idea to give each one some attention periodically.
You can clean the dust that builds up to prevent overheating, and you will keep your employees healthier by disinfecting the keyboard and work area.
It's also important to check that extra software and files have been downloaded that might cause problems. You should delete any data or programs that aren't needed, especially if disk space is low. It'll keep the computer running smoothly.
3. Upgrade Company Computers Yourself
When you need to upgrade your computers, it's possible to do it yourself with a little research if you follow instructions carefully. If you have experience with computers at home, it'll be easier to learn.
If you need to add RAM or swap hard drives on a workstation, you just need a set of screwdrivers and ESD safety gear to do it right. When you need to add more workstations to a small office network, it can require more expertise, especially if it requires new network devices.
If you don't have a tech background, you can still install the new workstations after a consultant sets up the network.
4. Data Backup and Cloud Services
An essential part of managing business risks is ensuring that its information systems can be restarted in the event of a major disaster or outage.
Data loss is one way that your business's IT systems can be disabled.
If critical data and software on your workstations are lost when a hard drive fails, for example, your employees or customers won't be able to do business.
It's important to back up these assets on a regular basis to minimize the downtime if this happens.
Another way to protect a business from these risks is to move its on-premise business applications to equivalent cloud services.
Cloud services typically include regular backups with their applications, and they use redundant hardware to prevent a single failure from impacting their customers.
5. Troubleshoot Hardware and Software Problems
The daily work that dedicated IT staff performs consists largely of troubleshooting software and hardware. Employees need help with software problems and training, hardware sometimes is misconfigured, and operating system updates can cause issues.
Most of these problems can be solved by any tech-savvy person, so a small business owner with some experience can act as his own tech support specialist.
You can research how to handle common problems like Windows 10 blue screen errors or bring your employees up to speed with training.
Hardware sometimes causes computer problems, too, and learning to troubleshoot faulty drives, memory, and peripherals will save you both time and money. There are free diagnostic software tools that can be used to determine the culprit when a computer becomes unreliable.
You may still need professional help for difficult cases, but many times you can quickly determine the hardware that needs replaced and do the work yourself.
Small business owners can find affordable ways of maintaining the technology they need to compete in today's market. The daily troubleshooting, maintenance, and upgrade tasks that a dedicated IT professional would perform can be handled by a tech-savvy owner or office manager good computer skills.As the company grows, it may become necessary to hire IT staff, but a small office can be managed informally. When a technology issue requires more expertise, you can hire consultants to help.
Author Bio: Ashley Wilson is working remotely as a content creator, writing mostly about business and tech. She has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.