The norm in business today is heavily relying on technology. You don’t even need a dedicated headquarters for a startup anymore, because you can operate as a fully remote company. Your team will be made up of work-from-home employees, who can function just as effectively as a traditional group of the office staff.
For those reasons, businesses now store and manage their data online. Instead of printing several documents and filing them later, they opt for digital copies instead, or for software that records customer and employee data. While many startups still rely on Excel spreadsheets initially, investing in more sophisticated software is often a goal.
But as technology advances, then so do the things that can go wrong with it. These days, a company without an IT solutions provider may see its downfall quickly just because of a single tech problem. Retail and service businesses that keep customer records are especially at risk. If a hacker steals those data, you’ll lose customer trust and struggle to recover. It may be unfair to take in more blows than the hacker, but in the first place, your customers trusted you with their data’s safety. Destroying that trust, even if you didn’t mean to, can cost you the life of your business.
That said, IT problems are better prevented than addressed only when they occur. So here are the worst IT issues your business can face, and how to brace for them:
1. Software Failure
In October 2016, hundreds of people were surprised by a service failure, when a denial-of-service (DOS) cyberattack was launched against Dyn, a DNS provider. It rendered many internet platforms inaccessible to users in Europe and North America. The biggest websites affected included Twitter, Airbnb, The Guardian, and Freshbooks.
The attack was traced back to tens of millions of source IP addresses around the world. This caused a wave of anxiety among business owners who mainly rely their operations on their own software.
Software failures can have more serious effects than being temporarily barred access. It can hinder productivity, disrupt processes, and end up in financial losses. An example of such a scenario is what happened in 2011 to Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Their ATMs had a glitch, causing depositors to have more money in their accounts than they actually have. The depositors took advantage of this and withdrew extra cash before the bank fixed the problem.
But a more threatening incident caused by a software failure is the early release of more than 3,200 prisoners in the U.S. The cause was found to be a software glitch that has been persisting for over 13 years before a new IT manager has discovered it.
Human error is the top cause of software failures. Therefore, every company should have an in-house programmer in their team. If that’s way beyond your budget, choose a software provider that can monitor your systems for your company instead. The right software provider can be an asset to your business, with their routine maintenance, backup, and support services.
Invest time and money for the development and implementation of your IT systems. Choose high-quality systems from reliable providers, and take your time studying the system rather than rushing the process for the sake of a tight timetable.
2. Server Room Threats
Big offices usually place their server rooms in dark, isolated environments, where building maintenance issues could be aplenty. If they don’t inspect the room regularly, their servers might become subject to water hazards and other damage culprits.
To avoid server room threats, ensure that the environment’s temperature stays between 68 and 72 degrees. Monitor the heat generated by the hardware, as that could increase the environment temperature further. Overheated servers can affect network performance, or even shut it down altogether.
Monitor humidity as well. Install a hygrometer in the room, and don’t let humidity levels get too high or too low.
Use an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to prevent the devastating effects of power outages. The UPS also protects your office’s WiFi, switches, and other networking devices.
Lastly, protect the server room against theft by investing in heavy-duty locks and security systems. Have the room’s CCTV camera connected to your smartphone, so that you can also monitor it remotely.
3. Natural Disasters
Normally, security threats are considered the worst IT issue, but given today’s anti-malware systems and cybersecurity methods, it has become more preventable than ever. Natural disasters, on the other hand, are completely out of anyone’s control.
Protect your data by minimizing physical copies, and opting for more digital versions instead. For crucial hard copy documents like Articles of Incorporation, certificates, and the like, store them in a place resilient against fires, floods, and earthquakes.
To prevent damage to your computers, have an off-site backup location, where you can transfer all your equipment before a predicted natural disaster. And most importantly, have disaster recovery plans. Include it in your general risk management plans, so that you can keep your business running.
IT problems won’t go anywhere even with today’s sophisticated preventive measures. So value your company’s tech, and regularly upgrade your IT solutions.