Everyone is superstitious to some extent. Baseball players are notoriously superstitious, but there’s probably plenty of quiet superstition floating around in your place of work. If you happen to work in the UK, or have any family members from the area you’re probably aware of the superstition about keeping new shoes off the table.
In India, there’s a standing belief that getting a haircut on a Tuesday will cause bad luck. You’ve most likely heard that walking under a ladder is a fairly popular way to attract bad luck, this myth dates back to medieval times when ladders used to symbolize the gallows.
While oddly shaped foods and Tuesday haircuts most likely are not to blame for a streak of bad luck, in the IT world, we’ve also heard our fair share of technology myths. The purpose of today’s post is to explore some popular business technology myths floating around out there, where they came from, and whether or not there’s any validity to them.
APPLE COMPUTERS ARE IMMUNE TO VIRUSES
The which is better debate between Mac and PC users has been going on for over a decade at this point, and quite frankly it’s about as useful as yelling at the clouds.
In the right situations, though, Apple computers are just as vulnerable to viruses and other malware as their PC counterparts.
So why is this myth so commonly believed?
There are several theories, but one of the more common reasons may be around the fact that hackers design malware that can scale quickly. Because of this, many viruses are designed to reach commonly used systems. Historically, PCs have vastly outweighed Mac in terms of global users.
While using a Mac has traditionally been considered much easier than a PC, the myth that the Mac operating system is immune to viruses and malware is false. So while you might be able to camouflage yourself in a coffee shop using your Mac, clicking on that suspicious email link from a distant relative requesting to send you a copious amount of cash is still unsafe.
A “PRIVATE” BROWSING MODE KEEPS ACTIVITY ANONYMOUS
Whatever your reason might be for switching your browser mode to private is completely up to you. We’re not here to judge, but we have to clear the air about the level of anonymity these modes actually provide.
Browsers have different versions of this.
Chrome uses “Incognito Mode”, other browsers have similarly named modes like InPrivate, Private Browsing and so on. And in fact, these browser features do keep your surfing history private from other individuals that use your computer, but they will not prevent your Internet Service Provider from seeing this information.
For example, say you’re browsing for a specific pair of shoes (while on break, of course) in a private browser mode. You’ll probably notice that custom ads for those specific shoes will still follow you around the internet, Amazon, and even on social media.
This information becomes important in the event that your online searches might one day lead to legal action. It’s probably a good course of action to assume that while you’re at work, your search history and browser history is never going to be truly “private”.
PASSWORD PROTECTED NETWORKS ARE HACKER-PROOF
We love cybersecurity. We really love helping small and medium-sized businesses improve their existing IT security through a variety of means.
While we do encourage strong passwords, if your company uses a hard-wired network, it’s important to be aware that any user can potentially be able to see anything on a computer.
The truth is, however, that most of us are using WiFi to access cloud networks, which makes access for users much easier, but still carries a healthy amount of risk.
Therefore, in addition to using cloud networks, it’s important to build in the idea of routine data backup in redundant, off-site data centers. Since many types of ransomware will render a computer useless until a ransom is paid.
If you have all your networks critical data backed up offsite, the recovery process becomes exponentially easier, and much cheaper as well.
But honestly, you would be shocked at how many companies with more than 50 employees are still using ‘password’ or ‘12345’ as their network password.
This isn’t a great password for anyone, anywhere at any time.
BETTER SPECS = MORE PRODUCTIVITY
The lines that stack up outside the Apple store on the days when a new iPhone launches might lead you to believe that older versions of the phone may only serve as paperweights. We tend to apply the same logic to our office computers – if it’s not the latest version there’s no use in having your staff use it, right?
It’s natural to want the best technology, but it’s important to remember that the manufacturers depend on us falling for the idea that the newest is always the best.
If 90% of the staff is engaged in standard functions like word processing and email there’s no need to have top of the line processors in every machine. It can be a waste of time (and money) to put too much stock into the specs of your office computers.
An article in The New York Times put it like this:
“The real message here is that while it’s easy to get caught up in the game of latest-and-greatest, you should really pay attention to the features that matter to how you’ll be using your new computer, phone or other device. If you’re looking for a phone that’ll last all day, focus on the battery. If you want a computer you can travel with, battery life and weight may matter more than a powerful processor. But never just buy the biggest and best and assume it’ll fit all of your needs.”
OUTSOURCING BUSINESS IT IS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN HIRING
This is something we commonly hear from prospective clients. While it’s difficult to make a hard and fast rule that will apply to all businesses, we can say there are far too many myths surrounding outsourcing IT tasks.
Hiring for a business is expensive. There are plenty of fixed costs when you consider salary and benefits but there are also intangibles like the cost to train a new member of an IT team to get up to speed and learn all the nuances of a company’s infrastructure.
There are many applications that outsourced IT can handle for small and medium-sized businesses.
The team here at Continuous has been creating helpful blueprints for better technology for businesses of all sizes since 1997. Whether you need general network monitoring, VoIP implementation, installation of a cloud network, or network security or data backup and recovery solutions – Continuous has vendor-agnostic solutions that can make your staff more productive, and your data more secure.
Our advice with regard to hiring a 3rd party provider is to thoroughly understand the contract before you sign anything or let any outsourced provider touch your technology.
Generally speaking, a “break-fix” model of IT support can be much more expensive than a contract that provides a flat fee.
We have a helpful guide for this on our website. We’ll outline the three most common ways that providers can charge for IT services and discuss the pros and cons of each.