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5 Common IT Pitfalls Small Businesses Should Avoid

5 Common IT Pitfalls Small Businesses Should Avoid . / Credit: Data Breach Image via Shutterstock

An increasing reliance on technology in the workplace is giving way to more data breaches and cybersecurity issues. That dependence creates an even greater challenge for information-technology workers who are in charge of keeping that technology running smoothly.

One of the best ways for IT workers to keep their companies at full productivity is to avoid some common mistakes that plague many organizations.

"With data stored in multiple locations and on multiple devices, loss at any level can be very detrimental, putting IT administrators in the hot seat to provide fast issue resolution and minimize downtime," said Jeff Pederson, manager of data-recovery operations at Kroll Ontrack, a provider of data-recovery services. "Under such extreme pressure, IT teams may be overlooking established best practices for IT service management in the pursuit of urgent issue resolution, leaving organizations at risk for data loss."

[The Most Important IT Job Skill? Personality]

Some of the common IT mistakes Kroll Ontrack found include the following:

  • Failure to document and execute established IT, retention and backup procedures — Kroll Ontrack sees it time and time again. A test server moves into production, but no one has informed IT that it has started capturing valuable data, and the data is not being backed up.
  • Failure to keep operating systems (OS) and anti-virus software up to date — Days are busy and resources are stretched, but failing to update OS security patches and anti-virus software can result in treacherous security breaches and extensive data loss.
  • Failure to back up effectively — In a recent survey of Kroll Ontrack data-recovery customers, 60 percent had a backup in place at the time of data loss, but the backup was not working properly. Failure to establish and follow backup procedures, or test and verify backup integrity, is a guaranteed recipe for data loss.
  • Deleting data that is still in active use — This may be surprising, but you’d be astonished how often Kroll Ontrack performs data recovery on tapes or server networks that are thought to be out of use, but still contain active data. Do your due diligence and ensure the data you delete is no longer of value.
  • Failure to test IT security policies — Even the smallest failure in IT security can lead to devastating results, including critical data loss and huge expense. Restrict IT administrator passwords only to required users, and change them when an IT administrator leaves the company. Some of Kroll Ontrack’s most compelling data-loss cases are the result of a disgruntled employee with a live password intentionally deleting large amounts of critical company data.

Kroll Ontrack also offers the following tips to IT workers in the event a data breach occurs:

  • Avoid panicking and rushing to action
  • Be confident in your skills and knowledge
  • Have a plan
  • Know your environment (and your data)

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