Cross_Armed_Business_ManWe’ve been onboarding new customers and doing lots of IT assessments for organizations who are considering doing something different with their IT support. In the process, we have been finding IT scenarios that, well, make us shake our heads just a little!

I asked our very talented IT team based on recent experiences, to answer the question, “You might need to make some IT changes if…”

Here are 13 things that might indicate you have an IT problem:

1. Your biggest concern in looking for help with technical services is the after-hours availability. If your network is done right, after-hours support should be a non-issue. It should only be needed in rare circumstances, and while it needs to be available, should not be your primary concern.

2. You still have Windows XP or Server 2003 actively in use on your network. Using these platforms is risky and leaves you open for problems.

3. Your server to people ratio is out of proportion. It doesn’t take 14 or 10 or 7 servers to run a company of 25 people, and in today’s world of virtualization and cloud, it doesn’t even take that much hardware. Many IT people spin up another server because it is easy, but each server requires more support time and offers another point of failure.

4. You often hear “We can’t upgrade, because…” This means something is out of date and needs a plan for upgrade. Be aware of the issue, create a plan, and make it happen. I can’t tell you how many times over the years we have seen people in real trouble because they fell behind on some important piece of software.

5. Security concerns trump productivity. Security is real and any good network support company should pay attention and be vigilant about security. Security rules should not prevent you from doing day-to-day work. Concerns about security should not keep you from technology like wireless, remote access, and appropriate means of sharing information.

6. You are still using tape backup, Backup Exec, or a home grade backup for you critical business files. Your information is the lifeblood of your business, treat it that way! The old or home technology will eventually result in a failure to recover.

7. You are using free email or pop/smtp mail for your business. As a business, you want to look professional and have your own domain name, not someone else’s. And, using pop/smtp is risky and problematic. Synchronization issues, no shared calendar, no email backup, and other problems cost you too much in productivity.

8. You still have one of those beige machines and a tube type monitor on your desk. We don’t see this too often anymore, but if you are really using either of these, you are losing productivity daily. Big screens and fast computers make for more productive people!

9. You have a dot matrix printer with multi-part forms. I’m sure I’ll get a few arguments on this, but multi-part forms are expensive, and old printers are hard to support. There are several different technology solutions that will enable you to replace this dated setup with standard paper, or better yet, electronic tablet based forms.

10. You get messages about illegal software. I’m surprised by this every time we encounter it, and most of the time it is the IT person being too cheap or having a chip on their shoulder against Microsoft. Most owners are willing to pay to be legal and it is just the technical person that has broken the rules.

11. You get messages all of the time that your browser is out of date or your plugin’s need updated. Staying on a current browser is very important to security. Your IT support should have an automated system to keep your browser and your Windows platform up-to-date. And, if your software won’t support a new browser for longer than about 6-months after release, it may be time to look for new software.

12. Your business runs on freeware. Free or open source sounds good, but it almost always means lack of features and difficult to support. In fact, it often means you need the support of the IT person who originally set it up. Purchasing the commercial solution is worth it so that you can get help when needed and have multiple options for IT support.

13. You hear any of these words in relation to your technology: Netscape, Hotmail, AOL, Windows XP/98/2003, Novell, diskette, degauss, tractor feed, SCSI, parallel port, monochrome, CRT, WEP, and more.

Each of the risks listed above can be avoided. Following best practices, updating equipment and software regularly, and being vigilant about security will keep you on the right course.

If you read these 13 points and felt pretty good, because you are not doing any of these things, congratulations! If you see some areas of concern, set a plan to correct them, and move that plan forward with action! If you need some help formulating that plan, I would love to help, just get in touch by phone or email.

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