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IT Solutions For The Most Common Small Business Tech Problems

Mon, 02/15/2016 - 10:25 -- Kayla Smith

Not all business owners are particularly tech-savvy. You know how to run your business, how to manage employees, how to maintain great customer service, and how to provide a great product or service but when it comes to your business technology, you might struggle. And that’s okay! After serving the Amarillo area with business IT support for almost 13 years, we have seen it all and there are certain problems that we see over and over again. Businesses of all types (healthcare facilities, lawyers, hotels, retail establishments, restaurants, etc.) are plagued by these issues. Fortunately, there are technology solutions for every single one of the problems that gives you a headache.

Here are the most common small business technology problems that we see (and what you can do about them):

Problem: Waiting until something breaks to fix it. This is not something that you want to do, especially when running a business. Once a hard drive crashes, a computer stops working, your point of sale system goes down, etc., you automatically start losing revenue from missed sales and downtime. A proactive approach is much more appropriate for a small business. For one thing, computers, networks, and servers need regular maintenance in order for them to function properly. This maintenance can detect problems and fix them before they cause major downtime or data loss. And maintenance can prevent problems from occurring at all.

Solution: The solution is signing a managed service agreement with a managed service provider. Rather than calling in the pros when something breaks down, an IT professional will maintain and monitor your network 24/7. If something does go down, you don’t pay each time to get it fixed. It’s included in your monthly fee.

Problem: No backup and recovery strategy. Failing to properly backup data can result in data loss, downtime, decreased customer trust, and possible legal fines if you are required to be HIPAA compliant. Data loss can occur for a number of reasons: failed hard drives, power surges, physical damage to devices, malware, and more. You take a lot of risks when you don’t back your data up.

Solution: You need a three-pronged approach to keeping your data safe. We recommend storing data in these three places:

1. On your actual devices such as your computer, mobile device, or server.
2. On another local backup like an external hard drive.
3. On an offsite backup. This means that you use a cloud backup service such as Carbonite. Your files are continually backed up to the cloud so if your business suffers from a natural disaster or fire, you won’t lose your data.

Recovery is also made simple with Carbonite, which is extremely important if downtime is costly to your business. We are resellers of Carbonite, so let us know if you’re interested and we can get you set up.

Problem: Faulty and inefficient network. We see this one a lot, especially with businesses that inherit old networks from other businesses that have used the building. For example, we recently re-did the network for the Wyndham Hotel here in Amarillo, Texas. Previously, their network was inefficient and it constantly went down. Employees were unable to do their jobs and hotel guests were not able to use the Wi-Fi. It was a disaster, to say the least.

Solution: We had to completely rewire the entire network. Our technicians used some of the old wiring and added new wiring to create a new, efficient network that had both private and guest wireless. We installed a new server in a well ventilated area. We were able to do this without any significant downtime to the hotel. When you have a sluggish, faulty network, the solution is to hire a professional technician with many years of experience.

Problem: Bad internet connection. We see this one a lot in Amarillo, where there aren’t a lot of options when it comes to choosing your internet service provider. When your internet suddenly becomes slow (or it has been slow for a long time) or your connection goes down entirely we are able to troubleshoot it. It might be a problem with your hardware, something might be hogging your bandwidth, or it could be some other issue.

Solution: Since there are many causes of a poor internet connection, there are many solutions. You may need to check your internet speed plan and upgrade if you’re able to, or you may need to replace old hardware, or you might need to call your internet service provider and make a complaint. Sometimes it is time to get a completely new internet service provider, especially if you have had a lot of problems and aren’t getting a good customer service experience. Fortunately, the technicians at catmandu can help with all of this. We are able to troubleshoot any issue you may have and we often call internet service providers on behalf of our clients so you don’t have to.

Problem: Weak security. Weak security is not something that non-tech-savvy individuals will be able to recognize. It can come in the form of weak user passwords, negligent employees, lack of antivirus, email phishing scams, criminal hackers, and using outdated/incorrect hardware. There are many threats out there that wish to steal the valuable information of small businesses. Imagine the data that you store on your devices - customers’ names and addresses, birthdates, trade secrets, HR records, credit card numbers, and so much more. If this data fell in the wrong hands due to weak security or because of steps that you failed to take, you will be fined and you could lose your business.

Solution: Again, there are lots of problems so there are lots of solutions. If your security flaws lie in your network, we recommend calling in the pros. We can do a full network assessment (for free! Just fill out the form to the right of this blog) and we can let you know what you could do to improve your security. This usually involves buying and installing new hardware and new software. Next, you need to take a look at the passwords that you and your employees use. Make sure they aren’t using any of the top 25 most used passwords because accounts that use them are bound to be breached. Also, it might be worth it to involve your employees in extensive security training, especially if your data is extremely sensitive (like medical records). In most data breaches, the initial fault can be traced back to an employee's’ mistake.

Problem: Ineffective software. All businesses use software to manage various parts of their workflow. You use a CRM to manage customers, you use something to manage your money, and you may use other types of software depending on what you do. Sometimes the software that you currently use isn’t the best fit for your particular needs or it is just downright bad software. If you aren’t able to do the tasks you need to do, if your software crashes a lot, or if you spend hours on the phone with the software company, it’s time for a change.

Solution: While we don’t sell software at catmandu, we have a lot of experience in nearly every industry so we know what types of software businesses need. We have also spent a lot of time on the phone with software companies on behalf of our clients so we know the ins and outs of many software packages. If you are ready to purchase new software, we can always give you recommendations and ensure compatibility with your network. And if you are part of a managed service agreement, we can do this at no extra charge.

You don’t have to live your life going from one technology problem to the next. We are here to take away your headaches and allow you to do your job. Give us a call at 806-350-8324 or fill out this form.


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