SME bad IT habits revealed

posted by 7 years ago in Guide

From breadcrumbs and coffee spills to a serious lack of security – a poll of SME employee’s worst IT habits has revealed some interesting results!


Office technology specialists Altodigital have lifted the lid on common IT no no’s that are taking place in SMEs up and down the country. They questioned 500 UK employees and found that 29 per cent regularly eat and drink at computers and 20 per cent confessed to failing to promote a professional image by using a personal e mail address instead of a company account when contacting clients.

Researchers also found that 20 percent of employees commit the ultimate storage blunder by saving work documents to their desktop rather than a secure server. This is particularly serious in the case of finance and personnel records as well as other data that is sensitive or should be protected. Documents saved only to a desktop are likely to be lost for good if something goes wrong with a computer.

Perhaps the most alarming result of the poll was that 9 per cent of SMEs questioned admitted they don’t use virus software and security passwords to safeguard their IT systems from threats. Altodigital are warning that this failure to protect files has the potential to lead to major security breaches.

That’s not all! Other less serious but non-the-less undesirable IT habits included:

  • Regularly printing in colour instead of black and white which is up to ten times more expensive.
  • Turning off computers without shutting them down properly.
  • Emailing without a signature.
  • Using a personal Dropbox account.

All are straightforward errors so why have they become habits in UK workplaces? Experts say the likelihood is that employees take these shortcuts like unsafe document saving and a lack of security passwords simply to save time. However it’s claimed they can be detrimental to SMEs and can even cause major security issues. SME employers are being urged to keep a close eye on staff when it comes to lazy IT use and bad habits.

So which sector is harbouring the worst offenders? Fortunately not IT workers! This poll points the finger firmly at finance employees, with 88 per cent admitting they regularly commit one or more bad IT habit each time. The irony of this should not go unnoticed as failure to protect computer files and equipment could cost SMEs cash and clients.

Just in case you’re unable to resist the 3pm sugar rush and caffeine fix at your computer, leading to disastrous consequences, here are some tips to save your blushes confessing to the boss…

Spilled drink on a keyboard or laptop

Step 1: Unplug immediately and remove all cables and attachments.

Step 2: Dab the surface liquid with a clean towel.

Step 3: If you’ve spilled more than a quarter of a cup it’s likely that the keys will need removing. Probably time to confess and seek help – let’s face it dismantling your computer in the corner of the office is likely to draw attention anyway!

Crumbs in between keys

Step 1: Gently turn your keyboard or laptop over and lightly tap (don’t shake it).

Step 2: If this doesn’t work try using some cello tape.

Step 3: If cello tape is hard to come by try the sticky end of a post it note.

General grime

Step 1: Use screen wipes (not whatever you happen to have in your pocket or handbag!)

Step 2: Wipe between the keys gently with cotton swabs and across the tops and bottoms to remove dust.

Step 3: Get into the good habit of cleaning your computer at least once every three months.