4 IT Department Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Business
Today’s company relies increasingly on technology for success. Between 2010 and 2013, the percentage of small business owners who felt keeping up with new technology was very important to the success of their company rose from 65 percent to 70 percent, according to a National Small Business Association survey. While having a tech support team is a great advantage, it also means that when someone on your IT staff makes a mistake, it can affect your whole business. Here are four common IT mistakes that can affect your business, along with some tips on how to avoid them.
Taking Incomplete Security Measures
IT staff are generally more security conscious than other workers, but even IT pros make mistakes. For instance, the most common mistake IT professionals make is using default passwords on network appliances such as network access points, firewall appliances and intrusion-detection appliances. This occurs despite IT professionals otherwise knowing and following good password policies, so make sure your company procedures explicitly include password policies for all categories of devices. IT staff are also prone to use weak passwords for wireless networks, so be sure to include these as well. Losing passwords that are used infrequently, such as passwords for wireless routers, is another common problem. These types of passwords should be documented and stored in a secure location. To avoid these and other possible security mistakes, make sure your IT staff has a manual documenting comprehensive security procedures.
Using Bad Backup Procedures
Tectrade says companies can get so focused on simply running backup procedures that they fail to test whether or not their backup procedures actually enable them to recover from a disaster. Another common mistake is failing to identify business requirements for data protection, such as what types of data need to be kept and for how long. Using the wrong tools for backup is another problem. For instance, relying on virtualization cloning can quickly eat up storage space. Failing to plan ahead for storage limits and relying exclusively on tape are two other common problems. To avoid these issues, Tectrade suggests testing your backup procedures rigorously, creating a data recovery catalog, using appropriate backup tools that integrate with your critical systems, planning ahead to avoid hitting buffer limits and using a mixture of tape and disc backups.
Following Poor Version Control Procedures
Failing to track changes to documents and files can also create confusion. For instance, the design business has no industry standard for backing up old versions of files, monitoring changes to files or organizing files, says VentureBeat, which can create major problems for designers when they can’t figure out who changed what. Similar problems can be caused by failing to track updates to word processing documents, spreadsheets, websites or programming code. To avoid these types of issues, follow version control best practices, like using descriptive commit messages and file names to enable reviewers to easily identify the purpose of changes.
Overlooking Business Continuity Planning Issues
Business continuity planning is another place where IT departments often fall short, says Risky Thinking. For instance, if your disaster recovery site is located too physically close to your regular location, a single disaster may affect both locations. It’s also easy to underestimate how much time will be required to set up at the new location, leading to excessive downtime. Failing to prepare duplicate copies of passwords and encryption keys is another common problem. Forgetting to back up non-IT equipment can be another problem. To avoid these another continuity planning problems, arrange an external review of your business continuity planning procedures.