1. A computer is a computer.
Wrong. You get what you pay for. A cobbled together car from various parts is not a Commodore – let alone a BMW. You would not even consider purchasing a clone car. Don’t purchase a clone or white box computer – go for a brand (Dell, HP, Toshiba, etc.) and always get a three-year warranty. Otherwise, you will pay dearly for possibly saving a few dollars upfront.
2. My son/husband/niece is a computer guru.
Correct – or at least until your computer crashes and you lose all your data. Use an IT professional, just as you would use a lawyer or accountant for your legal or accounting work.
3. Computers are easy.
Except when they’re not. If only I knew what to click on, I could do this myself. Why not give it a go? And now that it is really messed up and I have lost all my data…????
4. If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it.
Wrong! Cyberspace and cyber threats have changed dramatically with hacks/scams growing exponentially for the last five years. In a recent three-month period, 46%, 24%, and 83% of web-based malware was new malware in that month. You must have the latest protection in place. And remember, home and small business computers are the easiest and most often hacked (because they have the least protection deployed).
5. Computers last forever.
Wrong. It is an electo-mechanical device and it will eventually fail. It’s just a question of when. Businesses should plan on replacing their computers every three to five years. It makes sense financially and for reasons of productivity and efficiency.
6. I didn’t touch anything! And now ……I can’t ….. I’ve lost …… this has never happened before!
You should know by now – computers DO fail. And do you remember opening an unfamiliar email, clicking through to a new website? Yes?
7. I can look after my own computers – and only call you when I have a (major) problem.
Do you wait until your car breaks down on a freeway and then decide to get it serviced? A computer is 100 times more complicated than your car. Get your computers regularly serviced. And use an IT professional – not your son, daughter or Joe Tech.
8. I have not had a problem with my computers for the last three years – until an IT company came on board and started fiddling.
The two events are rarely connected. You might have been lucky in the past and your time is up. Or, you just did not recognise that little things (signs, error messages) in the past were pointing to a major issue in the future. Good luck, but your time is running out.
9. My computer is fine – it does not need to be replaced.
In 3 years, the performance of your standard PC will increase over 300%. It can pay for itself with improved performance in under 4 months. And you will have fewer or no hardware and support problems for the next three years.
Note: a three-year old computer is like a 10-year old car.
10. Of course we do back-ups.
Most small businesses do not do regular backups. They need to be done regularly – daily is ideal, but no less than weekly. But also vitally important is what is being backed up? Are emails (which are now deemed legal documents), or your accounting/financial (MYOB, QuickBooks) data included? Have you checked? Is a copy stored off-site? Have you tried to restore from your back-up?
Note: tape back-ups fail 30% of the time – so don’t rely on them.
Note: disaster recovery and back-up are quite different – you need both.
Peter Philipp is Director of TechOnline, which delivers daily, fully-automated and cost-effective IT service for small business, including a 24×7 helpdesk to provide technical advice and resolve problems.