Computer and network tips for businesses
By Eric Geier (Our Founder & Owner)
Originally published by Cox Media Group on 2/25/19
I’ve helped many small businesses over the years with their computers and networks. I’ve seen just about everything, from companies using the latest and greatest to those still relying on 20-year-old software or hardware. I’ve helped the one-person businesses and those employing dozens.
Here I share some tech advice you can use in your small business, bring up to the management if you’re an employee, or share with any friends or family you know that own a business: Utilize an IT company. Even if you have an employee that helps with tech support in addition to their regular job duty, I strongly recommend getting regular help from an experienced IT professional. Of course, an IT pro can help when there are problems, but to be pro-active they should be utilized more often than that. If you aren’t big enough to hire an IT staff, utilize a third-party IT provider. They can perform proactive check-ups and clean-ups to help increase performance, reliability and security of your systems, plus increase employee productivity. They may also be able to catch issues before they cause a disaster.
Look into IT managed services, as well, that can provide 24/7 monitoring, maintenance, security, and backup of your systems. These managed services can shift the responsibility of the computer health and security from the user that may ignore alerts and issues that pop up, to an IT company that can better detect and fix the problems. The monetary investment can be well worth it from the time and money saved by you or your employees from having to deal with the IT issues and better protecting against major disasters.
Secure and back up your data. In many businesses, customer data and other business files are extremely vital. If lost or damaged, there could be severe consequences. Therefore, ensure all data is regularly backed up. It’s well worth the small investment of your time and money. Though backing up to an external hard or flash drive is better than nothing, I recommend online backup as well so your data is stored off-site in case of a fire or other disaster.
Like with the general health and security of computers, the user or a non-IT employee is usually tasked with monitoring the backup. They could knowingly or unknowingly ignore issues and your system could go without a backup with some time. But if you have managed services from an IT company that offers monitored backup, they could be alerted if there’s ever a problem.
Make wise technology investments: Remember, you typically get what you pay for when it comes to computers and technology. Though that $250 new PC might look good for the budget, they’ll likely offer much lower performance and reliability, and won’t last as long. Even if the user just checks emails, browses the web, and performs other light-load activities, a faster PC will allow them to get it done quickly without the frustration and delay of lockups and crashes.
I recommend spending at least $600 to $700 on a new general-usage business PC. If that’s out of your price range, look into refurbished computers from reputable sources in the $300 to $400 range. Don’t just buy a used computer, but consider more of something that’s been professionally refurbished and upgraded.
On other IT-related purchases, I recommend getting feedback and advice from an IT pro beforehand. They can help prioritize spending so the business can put money where it would be most beneficial. They may also have ways to save money, like by using an open-source office suite rather than paying for Microsoft Office.