Four Big Myths of Do-it-Yourself IT
Four Big Myths of Do-it-Yourself IT
Lots of growing companies struggle with how to properly manage their information technology (IT). Many businesses will resort to a Do-it-Yourself (DIY) approach to technology in their early growth phase. In several cases, there is usually someone in the office who is naturally technical. We always call this employee “the person that knows the most about technology at the company”. This poor soul will commonly be given the job of managing everything technology related in the office, from the Wi-Fi network to laptop procurement to staffing the help desk throughout the day.
Not uncommonly, this “techie” person is a relative or close confidant of the business owner and will have to wear many hats throughout the business day, only one of which is managing the IT department. Not surprisingly, this is a short-sided and haphazard approach to technology, and is not recommended for any business. Some business owners justify this by believing some myths about their IT needs.
1. “My relative is a techie. They can figure it out.”
It is natural for leaders to turn to people whom they trust – like a son-in-law, niece, or other relative – to manage their company’s IT. The problem is, business networks are complex and requires deep expertise and experience. No matter the industry, the pace of technological change continues to accelerate. When small companies rely on a single person for their IT services, the result in most cases is lost employee productivity, major cyber security challenges, and the potential for ruined relationships.
Outsourcing is for many a better solution for managing IT. When you outsource a business process to a professional third party, the service provider is able to give you the accumulated experience and best practices gathered from working with dozens of similar clients. When your relative runs the IT department on their own, there is no such benefit. Instead, with a DIY approach all your risk is concentrated in the brains and capacity of a single person. That is risky and dangerous.
2. “We’re too small to be attacked by hackers.”
Many business owners harbor another belief: a false sense of security thinking you are too small to matter to cyber criminals. While large enterprises are potentially a bigger pay day for cyber criminals, these organizations also have large budgets and sophisticated tools, staff, and processes to thwart cyber attacks.
Small businesses on the other hand are short handed and often inadequately protected with the latest cyber security tools and technology. It is generally not a matter of the attackers specifically targeting your small business. They are able to send out attacks on a large scale to many networks at once and if your business is vulnerable, it will get attacked.
Every year SMBs make up a substantial portion of cyber security incidents. As reported in the widely respected Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, SMBs were 43% and 28% of the cyber breach incidents reported in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
3. “We can survive a disaster”
What you don’t know, can indeed hurt you. Smaller companies aren’t just at risk of cyber security incidents. Backups are an area where we often find incorrectly configured and deployed technology.
Fortunately, along with cyber security risk assessments, the team at Protek always does a deep dive on a new client’s backup and disaster recovery setup during onboarding. With new clients, we often discover glaring oversites and misconfigurations. Sometimes, the backups are simply disabled. In other cases, vital off-site backups may be poorly configured, meaning that a sitewide disaster could completely wipe out all of a company’s data.
We also discover that big portions of a company’s intellectual property and work product is simply not backed up at all. With the proliferation of SaaS and cloud applications today, large amounts company data is housed in third party software and cloud applications that in many cases are not backed up or protected at all.
4. “We can’t afford professional IT.”
There are many hidden costs from poorly managed IT. The previously mentioned cyber security risks and problems with backups can lead to prolonged periods of company downtime, data loss, or significant financial loss.
Harder to measure, though, are the productivity impacts of aging hardware, inconsistent networks, and improperly configured software. Too often, when technology is poorly deployed and managed, workforce complacency sets in and staffers begin to believe the status quo is normal or tolerable. In these scenarios, the hidden costs really add up. This leads to poor customer service, sluggish sales growth, and dissatisfied employees. In our fast paced and highly competitive economy, employees need technology that operates at peak performance.
Hiring an outsourced IT services provider is a meaningful investment. For a lot of growing companies, wisely turning to the services of an outsourced IT services provider is a big part of growing up and maturing. Taking technology seriously and investing in quality does not come cheap. But it is a transparent and clear investment in a strategically important area. When major cyber security risks are avoided and employees are productive and happy, it is a lot easier to calculate a strong return on investment from the cost of an IT service provider.
Feel free to reach out to Protek Support to discuss how to take your approach to technology to another level.
Eric is the owner and CEO of Protek Support and is a CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). He graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Business with an emphasis in Information Technology (IT). He is an IT Services expert in a variety of technology related fields. Some of these fields include document management software/hardware, enterprise level networking and VoIP phone systems, as well as large scale software implementation projects and the setup of small business networks.