Managing Information Technology in Small Business is Hard
Your small business has most of the same technology needs and challenges as a large enterprise. Unfortunately, solutions developed for the enterprise market are seldom available at all to small businesses, and when they are available they are expensive and the service tends to be poor. “IT service” is no longer a matter of making sure that your computer powers on when you sit down at your desk in the morning and it is not reasonable to expect you to know how to build a system to address modern IT needs. Below are just the top three challenges that we feel should be top of mind for all small business owners and managers.
Challenge #1: You have an obligation to safeguard data in your care
If you store any information about anybody at all (customers or clients, patients, employees, prospects, and even email correspondence), you possess information that is valuable to criminals and you have a legal obligation to protect it. Cybercriminals are happy to take your money or otherwise monetize your information, no matter your business size. You may not be big enough to be targeted by a cybercriminal organization, but that does not make you safe. Statistics Canada reports that, “Almost six out of ten (57%) Canadian Internet users reported experiencing a cyber security incident in 2018.”1
How much would it cost if I were obligated to pay for credit monitoring for every individual and company in my contact database for the next twelve months?
Challenge #2: Your business does not work if your systems do not work
Even if you are not the victim of a crime, there are any number of other disasters that can affect your IT systems. There are the big three premise-wide disasters, fire, theft, and flood, but even something as simple as a failed hard drive could cripple your business for days if you are not prepared.
Where are my backups and who will help me recover in a disaster? Can certain disasters be prevented?
Challenge #3: Everybody has access to everything
Chance are that your organization’s confidential information is a) only stored on your computer and might be lost if your computer dies, b) stored in a shared location where it is visible to everyone in your organization, or c) stored in the Cloud and you have no idea how to verify if it is safe. You probably store passwords to banking sites and supplier websites, confidential HR data, trade secrets or processes that cost you a lot of money to develop, strategy documents, information about your customers, information about your competitors, and tax and financial information in one or more of these locations.
Could it damage my reputation, cause embarrassment or even harm, or put my business at a competitive disadvantage if passwords were stolen or confidential information made public?
Is your organization exposed?
Understanding the risks and challenges of being in business and storing private information gives you the opportunity to choose whether to mitigate them. Your next steps are to determine whether you believe the risks are substantial enough to address, and if so, find a solution.