The jobs of IT professionals are hard enough.
Forget for a moment that they operate in an industry where the rate of change is accelerating exponentially – Moore’s Law states that computing capacity doubles every two years. Put aside the fact that the threat environment which they are paid to counteract increases in complexity every year, also exponentially. Nevermind that such a breakneck pace of innovation requires a continuous learning and updating of best practices and organizational policies.
These are not the most difficult issues IT workers face. The thing that makes a career in IT the most challenging is… us – the end user.
Despite all the hard work and effort that goes into keeping the digital infrastructure of a business, government or non-profit organization secure and operating at peak performance, almost any user can bring down a network (knowingly, or unknowingly) in nearly no time. Worse, when something does go wrong, the assumption tends to be that it’s the IT guy’s fault if an email account won’t refresh or the internet connection becomes inaccessible.
Now, to be fair, it is perfectly legitimate to feel frustration if an indispensable work tool ceases to function. What isn’t fair is ignoring the fact that our own actions and work habits often contribute to the technology problems we experience.
What are some of the most frequent sources of frustration for IT folks? Let’s take a look.
The Groundhog Day IT Issues
We talked to our IT team leaders to learn more about the issues they run into most often. Here are a few of the repeated behaviors they tend to observe:
Minimizing the scope of a computer problem
If, for some reason, a program on your computer shuts down unexpectedly, it’s not a huge deal – provided you can easily recover the work you were doing. Still, a check-in with your IT team is the prudent course of action.
But, if your machine begins a pattern of unusual behavior – like, slower than usual running speed, or a series of unprompted re-starts – ignoring the issue could lead to much bigger problems.
All of our schedules are busy, and none of us have enough time in the day for the work that needs to be done. So, the rush to get past an immediate computer issue is understandable… but, it’s still the absolute wrong mindset.
There’s no telling what the root cause of your problem could be without investigating. It could be as simple as a failed update. Or, it could be as nefarious as someone attempting to hijack control of your company-issued laptop.
You won’t know. But, your IT team will. Reporting the problem ensures that you’ll have the best possible user experience with your laptop and it also protects your organization from potential hacker exploits.
Non-IT/unqualified personnel troubleshooting problems
The only thing worse than not reporting a computer problem is trying to fix it yourself when you don’t know what you’re doing. Even if you fancy yourself a computer expert, you don’t necessarily know all the programs, systems and protocols in place on your company computer. If a problem requires more than a simple re-boot, your IT team is in the best possible position to resolve the issue promptly and properly.
Ignoring updates/restart prompts
Updates are needed to keep your computer up to date with all the latest security patches. But, too many of us hit the “Cancel” or “Ignore” button when the restart prompt pops up.
Yeah, it’s annoying and mildly inconvenient to have to stop what you’re doing in order to accommodate an update you didn’t know you needed. But, the upside is often an improved user experience. And, you get to avoid the downside – your machine being an open vulnerability for hackers.
Unfortunately, people are always the weakest link in any digital security setup. We don’t mean to be, or want to be, for that matter. But, that doesn’t stop the immense volume of social engineering exploits hackers deploy each and every day.
Phishing or spoofing scams – where bad actors trick you into providing login access or personal information – work all too well. And, it’s not just the least experienced computer users who fall for these tricks. These types of hacks can be extremely sophisticated and difficult to spot.
Under-investing in needed equipment
This behavior has less to do with everyday employees and more with the managed approach to maintaining an organization’s digital infrastructure. Too often, investment into the required equipment lacks a systematic process.
A business may upgrade its servers or network switches one or two at a time, whenever they find a good deal or a sale. Or, an organization might make a new purchase when something breaks or exceeds its warranty. However, such a piecemeal approach results in network components of different quality, age and capability. And that’s not a great recipe for reliability or peak performance.
So, what can we do to make their lives just a tad easier? Following the below suggestions can help you win a few more friends in the IT department.
Treat company hardware/software as a business asset
Remember, there’s a lot of work that goes into keeping your work computer functioning as it should. Plus, there’s a difference in technical requirements between your workstation and your personal laptop. So, you can’t treat your work computer just like you would your personal one.
Don’t troubleshoot above your pay grade
You might be tempted to go down a rabbit hole and figure out a solution to your computer problem on your own. But, why? That’s not the best use of your time. And, you might end up making things worse. Let the professionals handle it.
Follow prescribed policies and protocols
Your IT team spends time developing and maintaining policies and protocols that keep your business infrastructure safe and your workstations operating efficiently. Trust your team and follow their advice.
Training & vigilance
Security training is a great way to increase your ability to spot phishing and spoofing attacks. Take advantage of your security training program, if your office has one. And, if it doesn’t, ask your IT team how to best get up to speed on the latest threats.
If you ask, we bet your IT team has a vision for how to best maintain and procure the equipment it needs to support the organization’s digital infrastructure. Get that vision formalized into an official plan. This will provide a long-range investment and procurement strategy and ensure that your network will perform as needed now and in the future.
Beacon Knows IT
Want to know how well your digital network is adapted to the demands of your business? Find out by requesting a free audit by the IT experts at BITS.