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It tends to be true that the smaller the business, the more they’re troubled by IT issues. This is because their technology team is usually understaffed compared to what larger corporations can afford. The same goes for the budget for faster hardware and efficient software.
Fortunately, there are various methods to troubleshoot issues in information technology that arise, which are either inexpensive or free in some cases. Certainly, using a fishbone diagram to work through potential causes and see which one is causing the strife is a valid approach. We’ll explore this more later in this article.
Also, there are other ways to troubleshoot too. Here are a few of them.
Security Problems with the Network
Security is a growing problem with companies where hackers are trying to penetrate the internal network, using phishing and other exploit attempts to gain access.
Smaller companies are often more vulnerable to malware attacks and network difficulties because of the aforementioned underfunding issue.
Network monitoring software is required to look for odd activity on the network. Excessive data flow out of the network or other tell-tale signs can be spotted that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Whilst a hacking attempt is entirely possible, the problem could also originate from an employee connecting to the network externally and neglecting some of the security procedures. In this situation, not only should a virtual private network be employed, but the network should lock out attempts to log in to the network from the outside when not following correct procedures.
Virus or Malware Infection
Viruses can be acquired due to an employee installing software that wasn’t scanned and confirmed as clean by a reputable virus scanner first. Only the tech team should be able to install software to stop this from occurring. Furthermore, USB flash drives should be prevented from working unless used via a supervisory IT login.
Not only should the tech team resolve the infection, but they need to discuss exactly how it occurred. This way, they can employ defenses to prevent a repeat occurrence or add software to block access.
Use Flowcharts to Assess the Existing Issues
Flowcharts have been around for decades. They’re primarily used to troubleshoot problems, confirm processes, and work through the kinks.
When a bad situation has arisen but it’s initially unclear what caused it or how to prevent it, using a fishbone diagram is beneficial. With each process or problem, it can confirm potential decision points, and what optional actions are open to resolving each of them. This can then be worked through to determine if there is a better workflow option, an improved set of possible decisions, and ultimately lead to a better outcome.
To avoid potential future problems, flowcharts can also be utilized to plan procedurally to look for errors in logic and to tighten up their game. Using them proactively to work through various scenarios may also be useful too.
No or Poor Backup Procedures
Many smaller businesses have either an inferior backup process or none at all. This only becomes apparent after a corrupted file cannot be recovered, there’s no useful backup of it, a hard drive has failed, or the network suffered a breach with data deleted or removed.
At this point, it becomes painfully obvious that the backups, such as they were, were inadequate for the task.
Employees will need to either reconstitute the data or use older versions of the file and work to update it. It will cost the business time and likely money when this interferes with the course of normal business.
Certainly, with the lesson learned, thorough multi-level backup services are needed to allow for meaningful recovery from data loss. This can be achieved through real-time cloud backups along with daily backups to an off-site location. Having multiple redundant options, both at the individual file level, and the bulk backup level, is necessary to provide several recovery options when required.
Data Access is Excessive
Data access needs to be limited to only those people who should have it. This is just as important as providing access to those who require it to do their job.
Leaving file access open to more employees than required poses a few problems.
Nefarious access to files in search of confidential information is one of them. There is also the possibility of an employee mistakenly deleting a file they believed was theirs, but they no longer required it (or it was shared with someone else who used it too).
Also, from a security aspect, attempts are often made to access the accounts for smaller users, seldom used, and others that might go unnoticed for longer. When data access is too broad, it can inadvertently allow network intruders access to the files they’d otherwise not have.
Restrict data access only to those who need it. It saves you from a bad headache later.
Failure to Upgrade Software
Not upgrading software is bad for the business. It can also spell disaster from an IT perspective.
Software gets upgraded not just for the latest features or software bugs, but to eliminate vulnerabilities too. Also, some software may become so old, such as Windows versions, that it’s no longer supported with updates at all!
Problems on the network can be tracked down a certain software package with a known vulnerability. Invariably, when left unpatched, this is an easy entry point for hackers. However, by updating the software and checking on what’s needed daily, tech teams can avoid this potential issue.
With that said, there is also the potential for problems when updating to a buggy new version. Therefore, the company must decide where the greater emphasis lies; running the latest versions of installed software or giving their developers time to fix any mistakes with their coded patches first.
Managing the IT requirements for companies is a full-time endeavor. It needs to be taken extremely seriously to avoid many of the potential issues outlined above. Thinking about and planning through software and hardware-related concerns using flowcharts and other methods proves extremely useful in the IT field.