Think about your business IT for a moment. How many problems have you or your employees encountered in the last month? One, two or more? Possibly many. Information technology problems are persistent in business, placing your enterprise at risk and costing sums of money, too. Take a look at our A to Z of technology issues and then honestly reflect on the question posed in the heading: can your business deal with these IT problems? 

Audit trail

Most companies are lazy when it comes to recording IT processes. Not logging information makes data audits and investigations challenging. You also risk being GDPR non-compliant. 

Authentication

Weak passwords and lack of 2-step authentication is an open invitation for cyber criminals penetrate your IT infrastructure. Inadequate IT security can also mean unauthorised data access and transactions. 

Backup

Small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) often fail to regularly back up data. They neglect to test the integrity of backups. Lost data may be unrecoverable. By extension, your business may not recover from a data loss. 

Business technology alignment

Your IT should support your business, not the other way around. Shoddy business technology alignment lowers productivity, putting a strain on human resources and finances. 

Capacity

Capacity includes data storage and internet bandwidth. Insufficient storage space limits data input and output. Low bandwidth bottlenecks your IT network and frustrates employees and clients.  

Complex IT architecture

Many businesses have more systems than they need to address daily business operations. Complex and redundant IT architecture mean experiencing a higher incident rate and paying the price for downtime and inefficiency. 

Configuration management

Configuration management means actively controlling and recording the configuration of your hardware and software and is used in IT troubleshooting. SMBs experiencing poor IT infrastructure operation usually have little or no configuration management in place. 

Data

IT problems pertaining to data fall into three categories. Firstly, integration, in which data needed by several processes and applications is inadequately integrated. Second is data proliferation, where data is duplicated in multiple documents and systems making data processing inconsistent and unreliable. Finally, is your business data of high quality or does your SMB have missing or inaccurate data that does not support your business processes? 

Data retention

Many SMBs do not have clear procedures and policies for data retention or disposal. With GDPR fines of up to €20 million, shouldn’t you make this an IT priority? 

Design debt

When you rush projects and take shortcuts in software design, you’ll end up with design debt. While saving money in the short term, you’ll end up facing considerable expense for future maintenance, repair and project redesign. 

Disaster recovery

Not one technology platform on the planet is 100% safe and secure. Your IT infrastructure, like any other, is vulnerable to disaster. You are particularly at risk if your network runs from a single physical location and does not make use of the cloud. No disaster recovery plan? Worse still. 

Fault tolerance

Do your services crash easily when errors occur? If so, you have close to zero fault tolerance, probably because you’re using outdated technology. Fault tolerance is the ability of an IT system to remain operable, despite error messages or the input of invalid data. 

Infrastructure change

Unauthorised changes to your IT infrastructure or configuration such as ad hoc maintenance without notification can be a major thorn in your side. Not having control of your IT leads to network disruption, downtime and data loss. 

Interoperability

Interoperability is when technologies work well with each other such as a web page and browser using the same standards. Do all components of your IT infrastructure communicate effectively across the network? If not, you have low technology interoperability. 

IT management

When you have missing knowledge related to your IT platform, that means trouble. Many SMBs have systems with tons of data without any IT infrastructure design documentation, or IT management and maintenance procedures. 

IT operations processes and procedures

Don’t be fooled into thinking that too many IT rules and regulations are a waste of time. SMBs without robust IT operations processes and procedures lack insight. They are unable to provide optimal support, maintenance and improvement of their IT infrastructure. 

IT service desk

An IT service desk is a single point of contact for information technology support. Many SMBs encounter problems in this realm, starting with having no support whatsoever, to needing to further optimise support performance. 

Legacy hardware and software

Technology is not designed to stand the test of time. Old hardware and software are expensive to support and maintain and increase the risk of downtime. Saving on investment today means paying a high price down the line for costly IT repair and replacement. 

Operational availability

IT availability is a key operating metric across business. IT network uptime should be in the region of 99.99% meaning that your IT is only down for 5 minutes each month. Low operational availability means downtime, lost customers and reduced profit. 

Privacy

Privacy is the name of the game in the business world today. SMBs with insufficient privacy controls are opening themselves to compliance, liability and reputation risks. 

Process integration

Process integration is the real-time sharing of data, events and transactions between systems. Substandard process integration is unproductive and frustrating for your employees. Poor integration can even cause your IT systems to crash. 

Reliable IT

Is your technology reliable? Do your laptops and tablets function at lighting speed? Is your software up-to-date and patched? Are your servers cool and optimised? There are many more questions and hopefully, you answer ‘yes’ to all of them. 

Scalability

As your business expands, your IT needs to show comparative growth. Are your services and systems unable to support increased business volume? Sorry to say, but they are inefficient and ineffective. 

Software bugs

Persistent software bugs can be exceptionally problematic for your IT operations. They slow down systems and compromise the completeness of updates and patching. 

Software entropy

Not to be confused with the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, software entropy is when the performance of installed software declines over time due to error rates in data storage devices. Complex software such as operating systems is particularly susceptible, leading to overall computing decline. 

Systems performance

How would you rate the performance of your IT systems? When business volumes are high, is your IT sluggish or prone to failure? If so, you need to rethink your infrastructure design and the software applications you use. 

Tech silos 

Unlike the traditional silos used by farmers to separate grain, IT silos only add more confusion to the business mix. Departments and teams tend to create their own, insular IT platforms and data repositories. The result: data duplication, complex organisation, and a vulnerable and expensive IT infrastructure. 

Usability

Everybody likes an interface that is intuitive and easy to use. Clunky enterprise dashboards result in low employee engagement, dampen productivity and are disposed to human error.