IT Resolutions for Your Small Business in the New Year

Happy 2018!  A new year means it’s time for New Year’s resolutions – not only for your personal life, but for your business too. If you’re like most businesses, you’re aiming to grow and prosper in the New Year. To do that, you need your technology and IT systems to support your goals. So we’ve helped put together a list of IT Resolutions that will help make 2018 your business’s best year yet!

I will create an IT strategy for 2018

Technology is a critical component of any modern business. Every piece – whether it’s your hardware, software, data, network, or IT procedures – should be an asset that propels your business forward. Not an anchor that’s holding you back.
Determine your overall business goals, then create a plan and budget to make sure your business technology supports those goals. Ask yourself if your IT systems are reliable enough, flexible enough, or robust enough for your business needs.

I will properly back up my business data

Your data is one of the most critical assets your small business owns. Think about all of your accounting data, customer information, payroll records, emails and more. What would happen if they got lost or stolen?
Many businesses are never able to fully recover from substantial data loss, and some end up going out of business. Even in less dire situations, data loss can cause substantial downtime, which gets expensive quickly –  potentially more than $20,000/hour.

Related Article: Do You Know the True Cost of Downtime?

Despite the huge risks, 59% of small business owners have no contingency plan in place for handling data loss. Protect your business this year with a strong backup system.
When you’re looking for a solution, remember these 3 R’s:

  • Redundancy: Always back up your data in multiple, secure locations so you always have an extra copy in case something like a natural disaster strikes
  • Regularity: You don’t want old data. Back up your data frequently and consistently so you always have your most recent files
  • Reliability: A backup system is only as good as your ability to recover the data quickly and completely. Make sure you have a dependable system that will get you up and running fast.

I will make sure my antivirus software is working properly

unprotected computers chart

One of the simplest ways to protect your network and business data is to make sure you have reliable antivirus software that’s up to date and working properly.
That expired 30-day trial antivirus software isn’t going to cut it versus modern cybercriminals, who are creating new malware and viruses every day. According to the latest Microsoft Security Intelligence Report, out-of-date software was the most common reason computers lacked protection. Many also had real-time monitoring turned off, and many older machines had no antivirus software at all!

Make sure you turn automatic updates and real-time monitoring on for your virus software, so it can effectively protect your computer against threats.

I will keep my operating system (OS) up-to-date

We all love to ignore those Windows Update pop-ups. Especially when you’re in the middle of something, and you know that you’ll need to restart your machine. But even more than antivirus software, an up-to-date OS is critical to protecting your computers.
Cybercriminals often exploit known security issues with your operating system. They specifically target people who haven’t installed the newest patches, because they know many people don’t update their systems regularly.
Even worse, many computers are still running obsolete versions of Windows that don’t get new security patches at all. Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP in 2014 and Windows Vista in 2017. If your small business still uses either of those operating systems, you need to switch immediately. (And if you’re on Windows 7, you probably want to think about updating in the near future).

I will not get caught by phishing emails

Amazon shopper survey

Phishing emails are still one of the most common ways cybercriminals steal your passwords and information. These fake emails are getting more and more sophisticated all the time. They often include logos and branding to make them look like messages from Amazon, FedEx or other well-known companies. On top of that, they may have a spoofed “From” address, so they look like their being sent by a trusted source.

Always be on the lookout for suspicious-looking emails, and if there’s any doubt at all, don’t click! It’s better to ask for help than potentially fall victim to a cybercriminal.

Related Article: Phishing Email Examples

I will use good password practices

Sometimes hackers don’t even need phishing emails or other scams to get your login credentials. Microsoft found that a majority of compromised accounts were a result of weak, guessable passwords and poor password management.
Keep your accounts safe this year by using good password practices. Use strong passwords that are hard to guess, never default passwords (like “password” “12345” or “admin”). Also, don’t re-use the same password across multiple accounts. It’s like using the same key on your house, your car, and your safety deposit box.

Related Article: Why ‘password’ is Not a Secure Password

I will have reliable IT support in place

computers meme

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions for your business, ultimately, you just want to be able to effectively manage your business. You don’t want to have to worry about viruses, hardware crashes, or your computer just being too slow.

That’s why it’s important to have reliable IT support. You want someone to make sure all your systems are running smoothly, and your data is secure, so you don’t have to. When something unexpected happens, you want someone to handle the issue quickly and effectively so you can get back to the business of business.
If you’re still looking for reliable IT support for your business this year, let us know. We’d be glad to sit down for a strategic IT consultation to learn how we can support your New Year’s resolutions!