Why You Need A Dedicated IT Person On Your Team

Does the problem of fixing computer issues often fall on your youngest team members, or your son or daughter? While people are usually happy to help out, people without Information Technology training often have to learn things by trial and error. Troubleshooting in the dark isn’t a good use of time or skill, and burns younger employees out. You need an IT professional.

I’m not writing this solely to sell you my services. This is a real problem I see in many small and medium-sized businesses. You contract small jobs out, but have no one to maintain your systems over time. Problems slowly build up while a couple of untrained people attempt to cobble things together, and then something big — and often preventable — goes wrong.

Your server dies. Your email gets hacked. Your printer stops working.

“Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don’t think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without talking about the other.” — Bill Gates

IT professionals receive specific training on various systems. Your 20-year-old receptionist will try their hardest, and may be able to patch issues, but they likely don’t understand the underlying problems or how to prevent the problem from recurring.

Unless your business has a lot of technology to manage, you likely don’t need a full-time IT person. Find a local contractor or a part-time person.

Why everyone on your team needs basic IT training

While a lot of problems I fix are complex, I get a lot of calls about things people could easily fix themselves with the right knowledge. With each new piece of technology you install, there should be a training component. It will save you money in the long run, because people will know how to use it properly.

How many times have you seen someone haul on a printer tray because they didn’t know how to properly pull it out?

How many times have you watched an employee mid-meltdown enter your office complaining that their computer magically shut off for the third time today?

How many times have you swore at an email because you couldn’t figure out how to open an attachment?

IT training isn’t always fun (unless you have an IT professional like me offering it…ha!), but it’s a valuable part of your team’s professional development.

The things you don’t think about until they demand your attention

Perhaps the most valuable thing about having an IT professional on your team is having a maintenance schedule for all your systems. Here’s why: When was the last time you scheduled two hours to run antivirus and check C: drives on every computer in your office?

Imagine your poor car going two years without an oil change. Your expensive computer systems need regular maintenance too. Plus, your IT person will know about maintenance projects you probably haven’t considered, because your computers haven’t jumped out at you with “I’m broken!” yet. This doesn’t mean that we make up projects. Far from it! When I do an IT consultation, I look at an entire system to make sure all the parts are working properly together.

You also want someone on your team skilled in cyber security. Cyber attacks like malware and phishing are on the rise, and if your systems are vulnerable, you’re opening your customers’ data up to intruders. (I wrote a blog about malware in November. You can read it here.)

And it’s always handy to have someone around to consult about new technology. If you’re considering a new system upgrade or a new product, it’s good to get the opinion of someone other than the person trying to sell it to you.

Contact me to get an IT overhaul, and stop worrying about what could happen if you continue neglecting the maintenance of your systems.