This is a guest post from our friend and client, Mark Williams, CEO at Pensar. We’ve been supporting marketing agencies and helping them meet their IT needs for the last 20 years so we know a thing or two about what goes wrong and how agencies can use technology to accelerate their growth. Here are some of the biggest problems that we see on a regular basis.
IT mistakes to avoid
- Doing IT yourself. Technology is at the heart of agency productivity. But as agencies grow, they often cling to outdated approaches to IT. For example, we often see agencies try to manage their own IT. They waste time supporting users, fixing their own problems, trying to keep everything backed up and so on. Your time is better spent generating more business for the agency or delivering paid client work. At a certain point the cost of ad-hoc DIY support in terms of lost productivity and wasted time, exceeds the cost of professional IT management. This happens long before it is economic to hire someone to manage IT in-house. This is why outsourcing makes so much sense as an agency grows past 10 to 20 staff. It’s a classic case of that old adage: ‘if you think a professional is expensive, just wait till an amateur tries to do the job.’
- Confusing tools for tactics. It’s one thing to sign up for HubSpot, Office 365, Basecamp, Dropbox for Business or any one of the fantastic tools out there for marketing agencies. Getting the full benefit is another. There’s a risk of buying the book but not reading it. That’s where an IT consultancy team can help. We can train people, set up the tools properly and give advice and support so you get the most out of your investments.
- Relying on inadequate antivirus software. We’ve seen a lot of virus infections start with badly-installed, infrequently-updated or poorly-chosen antivirus software. One of the first things we do when we onboard a new client is check that everybody is protected. In particular, we replace free antivirus software because it offers incomplete protection and limited support.
- Confusing cloud for continuity. Moving a service to the cloud isn’t the same as ensuring it’s always going to be available. Even well-known companies have occasional outages and being in the cloud won’t protect you against malicious or accidental deletions and changes. This is why backup, data protection and business continuity are still essential. With tight deadlines and important clients, agencies simply can’t afford downtime or data loss.
- Not having a security policy. A security policy is the essential foundation of good IT security and business continuity. It’s a structured way of thinking through the data and systems your business relies on and then making sure they are protected. (You might find our free security policy template a good place to start.)
- Trying to remember passwords. Poor passwords are the weak link of IT security. Tools like LastPassor Dashlane make it easier to share passwords securely and use properly-secure passwords (30-50 characters long) since the app remembers them for you.
- Choosing the wrong IT partner. There’s a difference between an IT firm that fixes problems when you ask for help and a technology partner that gets to know your business, gives strategic advice and proactively supports you. Look for a partner that understands your business and that talks your language. Check our detailed guide to choosing an IT partner for more tips.