There is a lot of IT support advice out there these days. Between the information overload of the internet and what people learn from experience and are eager to pass on, it is really difficult to know if you are getting good advice.
So, we’ve compiled some of the best of the worst advice we’ve come across when it comes to network support for your business. How many of these have you heard? How many have you followed?
“You don’t need a firewall, just be careful”
A firewall is incredibly important. It serves as the guard dog (so to speak) for your entire network. Without a firewall your company information and data is vulnerable to attacks and theft. To learn more about how firewalls work and why they are important, read this blog post.
“You should virtualize everything and everything can go in the Cloud”
The Cloud might seem like the best thing since sliced bread, but it doesn’t make sense for everyone. Not only are there some programs that actually won’t allow you to store information in the cloud (certain programs for healthcare and financial institutions), but for large companies, it can end up making more financial sense to have a server instead of putting everything in the cloud. Take time to do research and figure out what the best choice is for your company.
“Just backing up to a small external hard drive is fine”
Sure, if you are just talking about one laptop. But if you are trying to back up an entire company’s worth of data, you are going to need something more powerful and a heck of a lot more secure than a little external hard drive. We recommend having both local (onsite) and offsite backups. That way you can always be sure your data is secure and ready even if a crisis occurs.
“Your equipment can be stored anywhere”
All computer and tech equipment is sensitive to temperature, especially the big ones like your server and firewall. You need to make sure your equipment is stored in a clean, dry, place where you have complete control over the temperature. Overheating or over-cooling your equipment can lead to extreme damage.
“You don’t need a license key to use that program. Just bypass the activation indefinitely”
Did you know that if you hit “Cancel” on the little activation pop-up box, that you can still use the program? If not, you do now. But seriously- don’t. Not only will it prevent you from being able to call up support for the program if a problem occurs, it’s basically stealing. These days, with the popularity and necessity of technology, these kind of thefts aren’t taken lightly. In fact, certain government organizations have a “tip line” that people can call to report a company’s misappropriation of licensure, and the fines can be extreme- up in the 6 digits.
“Having 3 different anti-virus programs running means you are 3 times safer”
Actually, it means you are probably 3 times less safe. Doubling or tripling up on anti-virus programs doesn’t boost your safety. Instead, the programs will fight with each other, and ultimately end up canceling each other out. The best practice is to choose one anti-virus program and stick with that.
“I have a friend/realtive who fixes computers, he can be your IT person”
This might work if you are talking about a home computer, or a company of one or two people. But for a growing business, this is a bad idea. First, you don’t know if that person actually knows what they’re doing. Second, since this is not their full-time job, you will be at the mercy of their schedule. And third, it can become really awkward to fire someone who is only sort of working for you that you met through a connection. This video is a great example of why you don’t want that kind of IT support.
“If I can do it at home, we can do it in the office”
Unless you’re a techy person, your home network is going to be much simpler than your office network. You may have a couple of computers, maybe a tablet, some smartphones- you will need a wireless modem and router, and probably an external hard drive for backups. That’s about it. Your office network is much more complicated- you not only have more people, but you need to be more careful. To learn more about what an office network needs, download this free checklist.
“Computers are all the same, buy the cheapest at the local retail store and we’ll make it work”
False. Computers are not all the same. There is a reason that certain brands of computers cost more- they are worth more. They are better quality. This does not mean you need to spend a fortune on the most expensive computer out there- in fact your probably don’t need it. You just can’t expect that a $120 computer from a local retailer will work as well as a $500 computer ordered from the vendor. To figure out what the best type of computer is for you, check out this e-book.
“Mac computers aren’t made for business”
It may be true that Apple products have mainly been targeted for the individual consumer, and they have, in the past, spent the majority of their time and effort concentrating on their retail branch. But, recently Apple has started to pay more attention to businesses, especially small and medium sized ones. Bottom line, as long as all of your programs work on a Mac, there is no reason Apple products won’t work just as well for your company.
“You don’t need to wire your network, just use wireless”
Wireless might seem easier, but it’s actually more risky. A wireless connection can be disrupted by many things, but nothing short of an actual disaster will disrupt a wired network. If you are looking to keep your network running smooth as much as possible, go with wired.
“Your backups don’t need to be tested regularly, they work fine”
How do you know it works fine if you aren’t testing it? Your backups are one of the top things you need to be worried about. Your business can survive any crisis, as long as you have good backups. We have this great video that talks about why backups are so important, and the bottom line is this- as long as you know, 100%, that your backups are good, then so is your business.
There is a lot of great advice out there, and there is a lot of bad advice too. Make sure you know which is which- or find someone you trust (like a great IT support company) to help you figure it out.