Poor IT skills put SMEs at risk

Britain’s lack of IT skills are jeopardising the safety of numerous small businesses, new research has shown.


According to Altodigital who investigated the situation, many workers commit basic IT errors on a regular basis and even expose their company to unnecessary security risks.


In the poll of 500 employees from British SMEs, 29% said they consume food and drink near IT equipment and spill produce onto their computers while 20% used personal email addresses instead of work accounts for professional communication.


Lack of security spells trouble for SMEs


File storage also proved to be an issue with 20% of employees admitting to saving their documents only to the desktop instead of using a secure server but it wasn’t only staff members who were found to have bad habits.


Many businesses weren’t any better themselves with 9% failing to protect their IT systems against common security threats.


A shocking 12% failed to take appropriate care of confidential files, potentially causing major breaches in security and leading to big expenses for companies.


Costly mistakes


Other costly mistakes being routinely made in British businesses included printing in colour instead of black and white which costs an average of 10x more, failing to shut computers down properly, sending emails without a signature and using a personal Dropbox account in place of a secure server.


While workers from all industries were found to share certain bad habits, those employed in finance positions were definitely the worst offenders with 88% regularly committing an IT faux-pas.


Regardless of the severity or regularity with which IT mistakes are made in a business, the ramifications could be severe.


Poor IT skills can not only delay the completion of tasks and present an unprofessional image to clients but can also lumber businesses with expensive bills.


Serious security breaches can leave companies footing the bill for compensation or fines and potentially threaten their overall financial stability.


In worst case scenarios this may lead to them consulting with an insolvency practitioner who can advise on how to avoid insolvency and streamline finances to help the business return to profitability in the future.


Taking the necessary measures to correct bad IT behaviour could therefore save businesses a lot of headaches and reduce the likelihood that such extreme action is needed.


As Tony Burnett, Altodigital’s Group Sales Director, explained:


“These habits all have the potential to impact on an organisation […] we’d recommend that businesses look to address these bad habits with a view to avoiding unnecessary issues and costs which they have the potential to cause”.


By Phil Smith


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