The 5 Most Common IT Problems in Small Businesses

The 5 Most Common IT Problems in Small Businesses

Small businesses today rely heavily on information technology. In fact, most wouldn’t be able to operate without it. But as helpful as technology is, it can also create problems that can cost small businesses time, money, opportunities, reputation, and even customers.

This article is here to describe the most common IT problems in small businesses and explain how they can be avoided.

1. Insufficient Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity hasn’t always been the top IT issue affecting small businesses. For some time, businesses with only a handful of employees and not much sensitive data flew under the radar of cybercriminals. Such businesses could operate undisturbed with only basic antivirus software and firewall because most cybercriminals were interested predominantly in large fish.

As time went on, large companies and organizations kept strengthening their defenses, making it more and more difficult for the average attacker to breach them. At the same time, small businesses kept investing in IT solutions to digitally transform their processes and gain a competitive advantage.

Now, the same small businesses have become extremely attractive targets because they depend on IT just like everyone else yet often rely on leaky cybersecurity defenses that can’t sufficiently protect against common threats, including:

  • Malware
  • Phishing
  • Man-in-the-middle attack (MITM)
  • Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks
  • Zero-day exploits

According to a report by ransomware recovery specialists Coveware, 82 percent of ransomware attacks that took place in 2021 impacted organizations with less than one thousand employees. That’s bad news because data breaches now cost companies an average of $200,000, and that’s plenty to cause serious financial difficulties even for businesses that are financially comfortable.

Needless to say, small businesses need to make cybersecurity their top priority. In practice, this means creating a comprehensive cybersecurity program to coordinate a defense against all types of threats they may encounter—something providers of Managed Cybersecurity Services like us at BCA are happy to help with.

2. Inadequate Data Backup and Disaster Recovery

Data backup and recovery solutions provider Acronis estimates that small instances of data loss (approximately 100 lost or compromised records) can cost a business an average of $18,120 to $35,730, depending on the size of the company and the value of the data.

Despite this alarming statistic, 21 percent of SMBs don’t have a data backup or disaster recovery solution in place to protect important data. And those that do have data backup or disaster recovery solution in place don’t always test their backups and recovery plans to ensure they work as intended.

That’s a huge problem because data loss can occur for many different reasons, including:

  • Cyber attacks
  • Accidental deletion
  • File system corruption
  • Natural disasters
  • Power outages
  • Hardware failure
  • Physical damage

The good news is that it’s never been easier to implement a robust data backup and disaster recovery strategy thanks to the cloud and cloud-savvy Managed Service Providers (MSPs), which are ready to help small businesses make it part of their backup and recovery plans.

By storing data in the cloud, small businesses can ensure that their data is always backed up and available, even if a disaster strikes their on-premises infrastructure. All leading providers of cloud storage services go to great lengths to safeguard their customers’ data, with multiple layers of defenses that include everything from suspicious activity monitoring to ransomware detection and recovery.

3. Outdated Hardware and Software

Some small businesses use outdated hardware and software because they’ve adopted the “if it ain't broke, don't fix it” mentality. But there are also small businesses that would like to upgrade their IT infrastructure but are unable to do so because they don’t know where to start, or because they are afraid of the financial commitment hardware and software modernization would involve.

Regardless of why outdated hardware and software is used, it always represents a major IT problem because it can lead to significant operational issues. For example, a small business that keeps all of its data on a single dusty server is more likely to experience problems with data availability than a small business whose data is stored in the cloud.

What’s more, outdated hardware and software is unable to support the needs of today’s organizations as well as modern solutions can. To continue with our example from the preceding paragraph, it’s far from straightforward to configure an in-house file server to enable remote employees to securely retrieve files from and upload files to it, but the same takes barely any effort at all with cloud storage services.

In order to replace outdated hardware and software, small businesses need to carefully evaluate available alternatives with the help of a trusted IT partner who can help them navigate the complicated IT landscape, implement the most suitable solutions available, and provide ongoing support.

4. Inexperienced Staff

For small businesses whose main area of focus isn’t information technology, it can be really difficult to stay on top of day-to-day IT tasks to support smooth operations. What sometimes happens is that a more complicated issue appears all of a sudden and causes everyone to fall behind on their tasks, leaving them unable to tackle new projects.

The traditional solution would be to hire additional in-house IT support, but that’s no longer recommendable for the following reasons:

  • The ongoing IT skills shortage has made IT talent scarce and expensive.
  • A single new IT employee will never bring the broad set of skills needed to expertly solve all complicated issues.
  • The new hire may spend most of their days underutilized.

For these reasons, it’s usually a much better decision for small businesses to get the IT support they need to thrive by partnering with an established IT support provider that can fill the skills gap.

Leading IT support providers like us at BCA charge a predictable, flat monthly fee for comprehensive IT support services delivered by a highly skilled team of professionals who are ready to solve even the most complex IT issues.

5. No IT Strategy

A small business without a solid IT strategy is like a ship without a clear destination. Just as a ship that’s drifting aimlessly can easily become lost, a small business without a comprehensive plan that defines how technology should be utilized to meet IT and business goals can struggle to succeed in a competitive market.

Businesses that have no IT strategy tend to rely on band-aid solutions that are expensive in the long-run, difficult to maintain, and generally suboptimal. On the other hand, businesses with well-thought-out IT strategies can reliably find the fastest, cheapest, and least turbulent route to the destination.

To create an effective IT strategy, small businesses should:

  1. Review current business objectives and IT infrastructure.
  2. Identify opportunities for creating better IT-business alignment.
  3. Select the specific technologies, systems, and solutions that will be needed to support the IT strategy.
  4. Develop a roadmap for their implementation.
  5. Monitor and review the progress of the IT strategy, and make adjustments as necessary.

Again, an experienced provider of managed IT services can assist with the development of an IT strategy and help small businesses avoid various issues commonly caused by insufficient previous experience.


The five common IT problems described in this article are encountered by small businesses on a regular basis, Unfortunately, many business owners and decision-makers don’t know how to solve them the right way. At BCA, we understand the IT problems small businesses like yours face, and can help you find solutions that work best for you. Contact us today to get started.