Tech tips for small businesses

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

I’ve helped many different types of businesses and organizations with their computers and technology. From the one-person home-based business to offices with dozens of workers.

Here I offer some tech advice to all those small businesses out there without an IT staff. If you’re the owner, I suggest discussing these with whomever helps with tech support. If you work for a small business, or know one that could use technical help, perhaps share this with the management.

Get professional tech help: Even if you have an employee that helps with tech support in addition to their regular job duty, I strongly recommend getting regular help from an experienced IT professional. Of course, an IT pro can help when there’s problems, but to be pro-active they should be used more often than that. If you aren’t big enough to hire an IT staff, utilize a third-party IT provider. They can perform proactive check-ups and clean-ups to help increase performance, reliability and security of your systems plus increase employee productivity. They may also be able to catch issues before they’re noticeable or cause a disaster.

Consider IT managed services: Look into IT managed services, as well, that can provide 24/7 monitoring, maintenance, security, and backup of your systems. These managed services can shift the responsibility of the computer health and security from the users that may ignore alerts and issues that pop-up, to an IT company that can better detect and fix them. The monetary investment can be well worth it from the time and money saved by you or your employees from having to deal with the IT issues and better protecting against major disasters.

Secure and backup your data: In many businesses, customer data and other business files are extremely vital. If files are lost or damaged, there could be severe consequences. Therefore, ensure all data is regularly backed up. It’s well worth the small investment of your time and money. I recommend backing up data locally (to an external hard or flash drive) plus backing up online as well, so your data is also stored off-site in case of a fire or other disaster.

Like with the general health and security of computers, the user or a non-IT employee is usually tasked with monitoring the backup. They could knowingly or unknowingly ignore issues and your system could go without a backup with some time. But if you have managed services from an IT company that offers monitored backup, the pros could be alerted if there’s ever a problem.

Make wise technology investments: I’ve seen many businesses and organizations make poor choices when it comes to the computers and network equipment they purchase. This is typically due to the lack of technical knowledge and hopes to save money. Keep in mind, making good investments in technology can go a long way to help increase employee productivity and the company’s bottom-line. So before making your next tech purchase decision, consult an IT pro for advice.

For instance, instead of buying the supercheap $300 computer, look for one in the $500 -$700 range, as it will be much faster, last longer, and be more appropriate in a business environment. You’ll usually see a return on investment for that extra few hundred dollars in the increased productivity. This even applies to computers that are used for simple office tasks, such as browsing, emailing, and word processing.

Don’t wait too long before replacing technology: The speed and technology of computers and other gadgets advance at a pretty high rate. It’s okay not to have the latest and greatest, but don’t wait 10+ years before replacing computers, software, and other tech. Computers may last 15 years before they totally die, but by year 6 or 7 they are usually much slower, unreliable and insecure. So, I suggest budgeting to replace tech gear and software every 5 to 8 years.

Eric Geier is the owner of On Spot Techs, a computer repair and IT services company offering on-site service at homes and businesses in the Dayton and Springfield areas and also a storefront at 4732 S Dixie Dr in Moraine. For more information, visit or call 937-315-0286.

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