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TECHNOLOGY

4 Tech Mistakes That Can Bring Down Your Business
 

You're no IT person--you have a business to run!--but you can't afford to get these technology decisions wrong.

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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 (Still insist on using an outdated version of Windows just because it's the one everyone in your office knows?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new technology is a sure way to miss out on innovations that may affect your business–it's also how you end up with outdated, hard-to-maintain gear that makes you less efficient.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

Those privacy policies at the bottom of most websites? They're not just for lawyers and geeks. Not in the current climate of cloud storage. When Google recently launched its own cloud storage service, Google Drive, it didn't take long before journalists discovered a crucial detail in the privacy policy: You might own the content you upload to Drive, but Google has license to use it in any number of ways. That should send shivers down your spine. Not only should you be reading privacy policies, you should have a lawyer review them. Check to find out if your cloud contract gives you the right to move data, and find out who really owns it–or you might find out the hard way during a legal discovery.

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.

Last updated: May 22, 2012

JOHN BRANDON is a contributing editor at Inc. magazine covering technology. He writes the Tech Report column for Inc.com.
@jmbrandonbb




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