Though nearly every small business uses technology, from mobile phones to iPads to traditional desktop computers, most can't afford their own information technology, or IT, department. At bigger companies, the IT department serves as a troubleshooter for everything from the most basic e-mail problem to a dangerous virus that threatens the entire network's infrastructure.
The good news is that many of the problems that IT departments consult on can now be fixed without an outside source.
Much like pool fencing protects your pool, these five tactics can protect your technology investments.
1. Back Everything Up on the Cloud
These days there's really no excuse for losing files. Even if you rarely remember to back up your files on a flash or portable hard drive, you can save them on a cloud device, which acts as a virtual flash drive.
You can access the cloud from anywhere, and best of all, unlike tangible hard drives, they can't be destroyed or lost. Make sure to back up your business documents regularly.
2. Put One Person in Charge
There are dozens of tiny things that an IT department would take care of that can slip through the cracks at a small business, like domain and web hosting renewals, software updates and operating system upgrades.
Brainstorm every possible item that could fall under this category and assign one person to keep track of it. That way no one will be confused about who the tasks fall to.
3. Take a Class
It's worth investing in education for your employees to ensure you're all up to date on the basics of IT. Plan a time for everyone at your company, from the part-time receptionist to the president, to take a course about basic IT, whether it's at a community college or offered online.
You will all benefit from gaining basic knowledge about IT, as it will help even the most technologically challenged employee problem solve on his or her own.
4. Create a Crisis Plan
Be prepared is a smart motto for small businesses. If a power surge fries all your desktop computers, you need to know what procedure to follow to ensure that your business does not flounder.
Set aside time to create an IT crisis plan, laying out exactly what should be done in a worst-case scenario.
5. Find a Backup
Though many IT problems can be handled in house, there will inevitably come a time when you have to outsource, and at that point you want the best, most affordable option working for you.
Don't be forced to make a decision during a crisis. Research computer repair companies in the area beforehand and set up consultations so that you know you can work with them comfortably.
About Author: Aaron Walker is a tech enthusiast who loves trying new gadgets, reading true crime novels, and hiking. He hopes to someday end up in a writing career combining all of his interests.