Absolutely no one – whether a business owner or individual user, can do without technology in the 21st Century Nigeria and beyond. No matter what level of technical skills or education you possess, you will need one technology gadget, software or service again and again. And technology is ever evolving, definitely not perfect or fail-safe. Thus, you (and/or your staff) need to learn how to troubleshoot common technology problems when they come up.
There are security concerns. There is the need to improve productivity. You must also stay up-to-date with the best that technology can offer. There are even simple tweaks you can apply to improve the service delivery of your technology gadgets – at home or at work. You may not be able to eliminate the need for an ICT expert to solve that technology problem. But understanding how your technology tools operate, along with a few tips can reduce the hassle of frequently seeking for technical support. So, let’s explore how to troubleshoot common technology problems in Nigeria. You might soon need that small bit of advice.
Keep or Discard Old Technology?
There is this simple bit of advice about purchasing technology gadgets – whether personal or company tools. Any digital device you have that is older than three years, is probably ripe for an upgrade (to a modern one). Similarly, any software you have been using for more than a few months needs to be updated. There are strong chances that the product developer or vendor has discovered existing program flaws and solved them. Such corrections would need to be downloaded as updates or patches (especially security updates) to your software from time to time.
So, in general, no software or hardware should be allowed to become obsolete and incompatible with new technologies before they are upgraded. You must plan ahead to upgrade your devices and software to the latest technology. It is even more important when they are business (or office) tools. If you have a trained ICT team (or at least a few trained technical personnel) in place, then the better for your business. They can help identify when your technology tool(s) are becoming too old to be useful and seek for a suitable modern replacement. Otherwise – your old device may break down without any option of recovery; and you may lose valuable data in the process. It is quite certain you want to avoid that.
Weak or Non-Existent Network Security Policy
So long as you connect your digital devices to ANY network (whether computer or cellular), there is the ever-present security threat. We dare say no one (and no tech gadget) is impervious to possible cyberattack. As such you need to take the issue of cybersecurity seriously. The staff strength or size of your company (or network) does not even matter here. You will be surprised that hackers may often choose to attack individuals and small firms. They know fully well that these categories of people typically ignore putting a network security policy in place (believing they do not yet need it).
Thus, you should not wait to have a large number of staff in order to handle this critical and common technology problem. Nor should you delay till you have a critical need for more network/internet services before enforcing device, data and network security. Take standard cybersecurity practices seriously and implement them at home, office or in your business. Also ensure you train your staff (or urge them to learn) about how to enforce network and device security. These should include the following:
– use of strong passwords (and passcodes) to lock your devices, the Wi-fi, and files
– regular backup of data
– data and device encryption
– turning on computer firewalls
– identifying (and deleting) phishing emails and messages
Poor Cellular or Network Connectivity
Poor cellular or network connectivity here and there is likely the most common technology problem every single person faces in the modern world. You are certain to experience it at one time or another. Weather disturbances, physical obstructions, or poor network signals in the particular area you are located may disrupt mobile phone calls or internet transmission. Thankfully, as mobile technology continues to advance (now we have broadband, 4G and 5G mobile telephony gradually being rolled out) this problem will reduce.
If you are using a shared mobile subscription (say, an MTN or Airtel Wi-fi router with several persons connected to it), installing a repeater is advisable. A repeater is a signal booster suitable for receiving weak mobile (or network) signals and retransmitting it at a higher frequency. In the absence of any technical glitches in the gadget itself, a repeater can bypass physical obstacles to improve network or mobile signal detection. You only need to get a qualified ICT technician to identify the problem, test and install one for you.
Otherwise, it is within your right to contact your mobile service provider to promptly attend to your needs. When there is a downtime in network/mobile connectivity, do not hesitate to call the attention of the admin or customer service support of your mobile service provider to it. You can reach them via their phone, WhatsApp, or social media handles as is necessary.
Lack of Personnel with Technical/Professional Experience
It is a good recommendation (yet again) to have one or more trained ICT staff to help you monitor your business technology gadgets. At least they should be knowledgeable enough to handle the simpler technical issues that come up on a daily basis. If you are not financially capable of paying for a robust in-house experienced ICT personnel/team, you can outsource this service to an ICT consultant. But by all means, have one or two trained ICT personnel on standby at all times to handle simpler technical issues. The more complex ones (such as web and email hosting, or server and network monitoring and maintenance) can be handled by the ICT consultant.
Data Backup and Recovery Plan is Non-existent
Your business needs to constantly collect, store and analyze data for making smart decisions. So why should you be careless with your data? Once more, it does not matter how big or small your business enterprise is. Doing regular backup of your data can save you a huge cost in the event where your computer or data server suddenly breaks down. It would help to quickly restore your latest available data, and business continues as usual. If a data backup plan is not in place, it would require a lot of time and money to get your business back on its feet. The absence of your valuable data will definitely slow things down; even worse, you may lose that data forever and never recover. Avoid that disaster by all means.
Handling Cables and Connections
Oh yeah – cables everywhere. The nightmare a typical office worker would like to avoid if they can. Cables will make you trip on them. They can slip out of place and get disconnected while you are not watching. And then you must know which cable belongs to which office device, and how to properly connect them. In fact, it is better to hide them safely out of sight. Wireless connections exist for a reason – this is one of them. So – what simple methods can you use to deal with this common technology problem?
You will normally have to deal with common cables such as power cables, Ethernet, USB and sound cables. Firstly, you need to study each type of cable, find out its function, and how to properly connect it. Secondly, there are now office tables with special holes through which you can connect these cables without leaving them exposed. There is also plastic tubing (or protective cover) that can be nailed to walls or the ground. They are quite common; and they are designed to hide network, electric and other cables. A third option would be to use special plastic cable binders to neatly tie a group of cables together, before safely hiding them away. You can combine more than one method for convenience.
Also learn to regularly check and reconnect device cables, preferably on a daily basis. And when any office equipment shows any sign of a problem, check the cable connections first.
Unregulated Access to Your Data or Machines
Even though you need skilled workers around, you don’t need to give unrestricted access to every data or sensitive equipment to every one of them. One or a few trusted staff could be in charge of your data or equipment. Especially as regards enforcing security (such as passwording, backup, or data retrieval). Nevertheless, your staff should be duly supervised, and receive permission from their line managers/supervisors (or you) before handling any equipment or data. Above all, employees only need to be given access to the specific equipment or resource they need to perform their duties at a particular time.
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