The Most Common IT Problems

The business landscape is always evolving, and with that comes changes in the way businesses operate. One of the most notable changes in recent years is the increased dependence on technology such as cloud computing. While technology has made many aspects of business easier, there are common problems that businesses must address to avoid irreparable damages. 

Fortunately, most of these common IT problems can be managed. All it takes is a certain threshold of vigilance, commitment and planning. 

We will discuss the 6 most common IT problems businesses face today including how to handle them. Thank you for visiting, let's start!

1. Outdated infrastructure (software and hardware)

Knowingly or unknowingly, many organizations are using outdated tech infrastructure both hardware and software. While there are many reasons why this might be the case, one of the most common is a lack of resources. Let’s break down this problem.

Outdated software

Outdated software refers to software that is no longer supported by the provider or that has been superseded by a newer version. As a result, it can be difficult to find people with the knowledge or skills to support it, and it can be prone to errors and security vulnerabilities. It would shock you that some businesses are still using software that's over 10 years old!

You may not realize it, but legacy software can have a terrible ripple effect on your organization, causing a number of problems that can hinder your ability to function efficiently.

For example, outdated software can lead to data loss or corruption, which can be very costly and time-consuming to fix. In addition, it can cause compatibility issues with other programs and devices, make it difficult to track inventory or sales, and even open the door to security breaches.

The only way to mitigate the problem of outdated software is to simply invest in upgrading. If you believe that the software is still of value to your company, then you just have to facilitate upgrades. 

Outdated hardware

In the simplest terms, outdated hardware is any equipment or device that is no longer supported by the manufacturer. This means that it doesn't receive security updates, bug fixes, or new features. It's no secret that outdated hardware can be a real pain for businesses. From decreased productivity to system crashes, there are plenty of ways that old hardware can cause problems for organizations.

Some reports have indeed demonstrated that obsolete tech assets are a ticking time bomb, with many entities a system crash or freeze due to aging technology.

Here are some of the most common consequences of using outdated hardware:

  1. Slow and unreliable devices: If your hardware is outdated, you are going to run slow. This can make it difficult for your employees to get your work done and can be very frustrating.
  2. Security risks: Outdated hardware is more vulnerable to security risks, meaning your data could be at risk if you're using old equipment.
  3. System crashes: This is indeed a top problem caused by outdated hardware. When your system crashes, it can cause a lot of damage and disrupt your company’s workflow.
  4. Extra expenses: Updating your hardware can be an expensive proposition, but it's a lot cheaper than the consequences of using outdated hardware.
  5. Lack of support: If you're using outdated hardware, you may not be able to get any tech support from the manufacturer when you need it. This can leave your staff feeling stranded and helpless when something goes wrong.

2. Poor or lack of security guidelines for employees

Think about it this way: if every member of your staff is working without any set security protocol, how do you know what they're doing? What if one of them opens an infected email or downloads a file from an unauthorized source?

When you fail to provide your staff with adequate security guidelines, the consequences can be dire. Staff may inadvertently download malware, expose the company's confidential data, or even steal company property. It means the staff are left to their own devices and may not be aware of the best practices for protecting company information. 

The first step in mitigating this problem is to create and enforce strict security guidelines for your staff. This includes setting clear rules about what is and isn't allowed when it comes to using company devices and accessing company information. Staff should also be made aware of the consequences of violating these rules, including possible disciplinary action.

The second step is to provide staff with adequate awareness training on how to protect the company’s infrastructure. They need to be taught how to identify potential network security threats including dark web threats, and how to deal with them effectively. Staff should also be made aware of the consequences of data breaches, both for them and the company.

Lastly, you need to make sure that your security solutions are up-to-date and effective. This includes using strong passwords, encryption software, firewalls and antivirus programs.

Your internal security guidelines are only as good as the level of communication and feedback between staff members. This ensures that any issues can be addressed in a timely manner.

3. Cyberattacks 

You've probably heard about data loss in the news. Corporations going bankrupt, employee personal information exposed, critical business data being lost or stolen. It seems like every other day there's a new story about a major company that has suffered a cyberattack.

Data loss as a result of these cyber attacks is a serious IT problem that can have devastating consequences for your business. It can especially be catastrophic if you depend on data to run your core operations. This problem tends to be more harmful for small and medium-sized businesses. That's because these businesses typically don't have the same resources as large organizations to recover from a data loss event.

The following are five of the most common causes of data loss in businesses:

  1. Hardware failures: Hard drives and other storage devices can fail due to a variety of reasons, such as electrical problems, physical damage, or heat exposure. When this happens, data can be lost forever.
  2. Software corruption: Software programs can become corrupted due to viruses, malware, or user error. This can lead to data being corrupted or deleted.
  3. Human error: This can include accidental deletion, mishandling of storage devices, or simply forgetting to backup data with effective backup methods.
  4. Natural disasters: Floods, fires, and other natural disasters can destroy both physical and digital data. This type of data loss can be particularly devastating for a business.
  5. Cybercrime: Hackers can gain access to business data through cyber attacks such as phishing or malware infections. This can lead to theft of sensitive information.

In one case, drug giant Merck lost over in a cyberattack, an act that saw the company engage in a legal tussle with over US$ 1 billion with its insurer over whether or not the insurer should pay for the loss. This is just one example; there are countless other cases where companies have not only suffered losses but also come down.

The best way to avoid the problem of data loss or compromise is to have a comprehensive data backup and disaster recovery plan in place. This plan should include regular backups of all critical data, as well as a process for quickly restoring lost data. Additionally, all employees should be trained on the importance of data backup and recovery, and on the specific procedures that they should follow in the event of data loss.

4. New technology

The sound of new technology may be exciting, but many organizations face a huge problem when it comes to ensuring that the new tech is properly integrated with existing systems. In most cases, the new technology may fail to work the way it's supposed to. This can cause a lot of headaches for employees and disrupt business operations.

There are a few reasons why new technology is so difficult to integrate. Sometimes the tech is incompatible with the existing systems, or it's not configured properly. In other cases, the new technology simply isn't reliable and keeps crashing. Whatever the reason, it's a major challenge.

Here are some best practices to help you minimize this problem:

  1. Define the scope and purpose of the new technology. What problem are you trying to solve? What are the specific features and functions that will help you achieve your goals? By clearly defining the scope and purpose of the new technology, you can avoid implementation problems down the road.
  2. Choose the right technology for your needs. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to new technology. Make sure to do your research and choose the option that best meets your needs.
  3. Train your employees on how to use the new technology. Successful implementation relies on employees being able to use the new technology effectively. Provide training that covers all the essential skills and knowledge that employees need to comfortably use the new technology.
  4. Create a plan for troubleshooting and support. No matter how well you plan, there will always be some bumps in the road when implementing new technology. By having a plan for troubleshooting and support, you can minimize the impact of these problems.
  5. Establish a timeline and budget. Know how much time and money you have to spend on the project, and factor that into your decision-making process.

5. No plan

Lack of planning happens to be the root cause of all IT problems in businesses. Instead of taking the time to plan out their IT needs and outline potential issues, most organizations actually wait until something goes wrong and then scramble to fix it. On the other hand, many businesses rely on their IT department to come up with a plan, but IT departments are usually swamped with day-to-day tasks and don't have the time to properly plan at a comprehensive level. This approach almost always leads to more problems down the road.

There are many consequences of lack of or poor planning. Here are the top five:

  1. You'll likely experience frequent downtime, as unplanned outages are one of the most common results of poor planning.
  2. Your staff will be demotivated, as they do not have a clear action plan whenever issues arise..
  3. You'll waste money on unnecessary hardware and software purchases, as you'll be buying things without knowing what you need.
  4. Your employees will be frustrated and less productive, as they won't have the tools or those that they have could be the wrong ones. 
  5. You'll be more vulnerable to attacks, as your lack of vulnerability management program will leave your system open to vulnerabilities.

Of course we are cognizant of the fact that many businesses, especially small to medium enterprises,  don't have the right tools or processes in place to make planning easy and efficient. Without these tools, it's difficult (or impossible) to get everyone on board and make sure that everyone is aligned with the same goals. Be it as it may, you somehow need to create a plan no matter your circumstances. It might not be the most solid, but it’s a good start to a better IT infrastructure.  

One of the most important components of a good IT plan is to set milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs). This helps in tracking progress and spot any emerging problems before they get out of hand. 

What’s the way out? 

No one wants to deal with the hassle of an IT problem, but if it happens? Prevention is always the best solution. Start with a proactive plan, and think about engaging experienced managed IT companies with a team of professionals who can help you through these issues. They know what they’re doing and most importantly they interact with these problems all the time, giving you the kind of experience and networks that you might never match in-house- especially if you are a small business.

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