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Technology Tip

Technology Tip
Dave Pelland has extensive experience covering the business use of technology, networking and communications tools by companies of all sizes. Dave's editorial and corporate experience includes more than 10 years editing an electronic technology and communications industry newsletter for a global professional services firm.

Small Business Technology Maintenance

Small Business Technology Maintenance

Technology is critical to the operations and success of most small businesses, which makes routine maintenance of your tech infrastructure vitally important.

Like any type of equipment, monitoring technology performance and addressing small issues is more efficient and cost-effective than having to deal with downtime and higher costs in the aftermath of an outage or disruption.

Tech maintenance is the type of thing that can be easy to overlook in the day-to-day grind of a small businesses, but overlooking routine updates or equipment upgrades can lead to more expensive issues – often at the worst time.

While some business owners may consider a steady series of tech upgrades as an expense they’d rather defer, routine maintenance can help reduce your company’s operating costs in several ways. A technology outage, for instance, is likely to result in downtime where your staffing costs continue, but you may be losing sales or creating a backlog. You may also encounter direct costs to replace equipment that failed or to recover data that was lost.

In contrast, maintenance costs are generally more predictable and easier to budget for than unplanned disruptions.

Smooth and Secure

At a basic level, outdated IT equipment or software can reduce your company’s efficiency by making daily tasks take longer than they need to. Whether it’s updating information in a clunky customer relationship management platform or waiting for files to download or print, older equipment can hinder efficiency and promote frustration.

But these issues aside, outdated software can represent a security threat for your company. Hackers routinely target known security vulnerabilities with automated scanning tools that look for outdated systems, making it important for you to keep your company’s software — especially the operating systems on your PCs and servers — updated by applying patches consistently.

Similarly, it’s important to make sure your antivirus and antimalware software is kept current to reduce your risk from emerging threats.

If your company website is built on WordPress software, applying updates is often as simple as a click or two. At the same time, be sure to update any plug-ins you may have installed to prevent those small programs from providing an insecure back door into your site for hackers to exploit.

It’s also important to check how much disk space remains on your company’s servers. Like a clogged pipe, a server with nearly full storage drives will run slowly and hinder your company’s overall efficiency and performance.

Update Your Website

Speaking of your company website, it’s a good idea to update it every 18 to 24 months to make sure the site is performing as efficiently as it can be, and that it reflects your company’s current mix of services or products.

If your site is not optimized for mobile users, for instance, correcting this issue should be an immediate priority. More Internet usage takes place on mobile devices than PCs, so it’s vital that your site can be read without squinting or having to zoom on sections of your site’s pages.

It’s also a good idea to update its appearance every couple of years. Trends change in web design, so a site (and company) that looked great three or four years ago could appear behind the times today.

If you’re not comfortable with technology, getting support from an IT service provider may be a good investment in keeping your systems current and operating effectively.

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