Making smart decisions about what technology to use in your business may not always be a top priority. I know: You have a business to run and you're not an IT person. But a few poorly made tech decisions can have huge repercussions on your business.
Here are four you don't want to screw up:
1. Skip the anti-virus protection
There's a strong temptation at small companies to cut costs and find workarounds. Often one of the first things to go is anti-virus protection, especially for laptops. Older AV programs slowed down computers and caused problems with other programs. That's not true anymore, especially given the rise of cloud-based protection (files are scanned before they even arrive at your computer). And several free AV programs do a good job of managing memory allocations. Can one virus really destroy your business? Yes—especially if you infect customer files and someone sues you.
2. Be oblivious to trends
One sure way to drive any business into the ground is to ignore new tech developments. (Still insist on using an outdated version of Windows just because it's the one everyone in your office knows? This advice is for you.) By now, you should know about cloud computing, lighter laptops, and apps for staying connected with co-workers. Ignoring new technology is a sure way to miss out on innovations that may affect your business–it's also how you end up with outdated, hard-to-maintain gear that makes you less efficient. Checking sites like Inc.com can help you stay on top of trends, as well as a quick daily check of Google News for the latest tech headlines.
3. Don't read privacy policies
4. Let your phone be stolen
I wrote recently in Inc. magazine about a few techniques for making sure you don't lose your phone, and if you do, how to recover it again. Most of the entrepreneurs I know don't use any precautions. Yet, if your phone is stolen, and you don't use a screen lock, you are opening up your entire company to hacking, social engineering tactics (e.g., sending a message to your assistant to email you the company financials), and outright theft. You're also giving away your contacts and detailed information on how you use apps.