When it comes to your business, understanding technology-related threats is a must.
With technology at our fingertips, there’s a lot that can go wrong. And believe me, a lot goes wrong.
Pick up a newspaper. Look at an online review. Talk to anybody off the street. Trust me: you’ll quickly learn that Stan Lee was right when he said “With great power there must also come—great responsibility.”
Whether you’re a business owner, employee, or freelancer, you should understand that technology has a dark side. Technology mistakes can cost you your business’s reputation, time, and money.
Read them. Internalize them. Avoid them.
5 Rookie Technology Mistakes
I should add a disclaimer that technology is near and dear to my heart. I majored in engineering in college. And guess what my business is? That’s right, I run a software company.
So believe me when I say that technology is a beautiful thing. But also believe me when I say that you need to know what you’re doing with it.
These tips aren’t just for technology-based businesses, either. They’re for (and especially for, I might add) any professional who uses a computer in business.
1. Failing To Understand Cybersecurity
Forty-three percent of cyber attacks target small businesses. And, 60% of those targeted small companies go out of business within six months.
Cyber attacks are arguably the darkest side of technology for businesses. One wrong click from you or one of your employees could lead to a hack that costs your business its data and reputation.
If you want to prevent these attacks from hitting your business, you need to understand them.
Phishing emails are one of the most common types of cyber attacks. Fraudsters use phishing practices to lure recipients to provide personal and financial information. People who send phishing emails pretend to be reputable and might pose as a bank, the IRS, or an employee.
You and your employees can also open the door to cyber attacks by having poor login credentials, clicking malicious links, leaving sensitive information lying around, and using outdated operating systems.
Here are just a few tips to help you increase cybersecurity in your business:
- Keep an eye out for unfamiliar email addresses, suspicious links, bad grammar, and urgent actions when receiving emails
- Do not click links from unfamiliar email addresses
- Use strong, varied passwords and store them in a password manager, like LastPass. The real winner would be to have your password manager generate strong passwords for you!
- Never reuse passwords for different services
- Protect, protect, protect your logins. Enable multi-factor authentication for your logins for an extra layer of security (e.g., Google Authenticator or LastPass Authenticator)
- Upgrade your computer software and conduct frequent checks
- Lock your computer whenever you leave it
- Do not reply to emails claiming to be from the IRS
Once you understand what you need to do for cybersecurity, you must, must, must educate your employees. Why? Because 48% of data breaches are due to employee neglect.
At Patriot Software, we take cybersecurity very seriously. We have regular meetings, trainings, and quizzes to verify our cybersecurity is top-notch. We even send out fake phishing tests to see if any of our employees fall for them.
For extra protection, you may consider getting some sort of cybersecurity insurance. If you decide to look into this type of liability insurance, pay attention to what the policy covers.
2. Not Backing Things Up
Files can be ransomed or obliterated in the blink of an eye.
Hackers could use ransomware to prevent you from getting access to your own files. How do they do it? They hold your data hostage and make you pay a ransom if you want access to it again.
Aside from losing precious business information to hackers, you could just lose them in general. Natural disaster damage, accidental deletions, power outages, and computer malfunctions are just some of the ways you might lose all the information saved in your computer’s database.
So, what kind of data could you lose? To find that out, look at your computer. Look at your files. Unless you’re in the cloud, you could lose critical things like:
This is not something you want to be dealing with.
But hey, this “dark side of technology” has a very bright upside: you can eliminate this worry by moving to the cloud, backing up your data, or both.
When you use cloud systems, not only will your data be safe if your computer is on the fritz, but you’ll also be able to access it from any device.
3. Being A Bit Overzealous
With technology, you can text or email customers or employees with the click of a button. You can post a status update on your business’s social media pages.
Ah, technology is great, isn’t it? So quick … so versatile … so many endless possibilities.
And so much room to be annoying.
Folks, there’s a standard of etiquette you should have when using technology. Your business’s reputation can take a hit all too quickly if you’re texting, emailing, and posting incessantly.
Not to mention, you gotta watch what you say. Once you write it up and put it out there, it’s out there for good. Even if you delete it, it could live on (think screenshots).
Bad grammar, snotty comments, inaccurate accusations, profanity—the list goes on and on. Don’t be overzealous when using technology. Think before you type and use your communication channels in moderation.
4. Forgetting To Personalize
Technology has the potential to completely wipe out personalization. And by now, you probably know that personalization is key in business. I mean, 63% of consumers expect it.
So if you want technology to work for you (i.e., streamline processes without costing you customer loyalty), you need to know how to work with it. That means keeping personalization alive and well, even when you’re using technology to interact with people.
How you personalize will depend on your business and brand, but here are a few general tips to keep in mind:
- Avoid sending generic messages to customers
- Address customers by their names
- Keep track of your customers’ likes and dislikes
- Personalize your marketing materials
- Respond quickly to customers with questions or concerns
5. Becoming Obsessive
And my last tip to you is one that I’ll bet you’ve heard parents say to their kids constantly: don’t become obsessed with technology. Likewise, you can’t become so wrapped up in it that you forget about the world around you.
OK, OK—so I might be getting on my soapbox a little bit, but this applies to business, too. And let me show you how.
Monitoring online reviews and social media is critical if you want to stay on top of brand monitoring. Yes, you want to know what people are saying about your business so you can respond to it and make any necessary changes. But, it’s also important that you don’t take what they say personally.
A similar thing is like counts on social media. You likely use social media marketing in your business, and that’s great. And, one of the metrics you probably use to gauge how well you’re doing are “likes.”
Whether it’s your personal account or business account, getting obsessed with the number of likes your posts generate can become an obsession. In fact, Facebook is even thinking about getting rid of them.
Now, I’m not trying to dissuade you from measuring your progress and monitoring mentions. All I’m saying is that it’s important not to take everything you read or see as a personal attack on you.