Efficiency is the process of doing things right with as few unnecessary moves as possible. Inefficiency is measured in units of unnecessary expenditure. It might be an unnecessary expenditure of time, energy, or money. Either way, inefficiency will cost you. The greater the inefficiency, the greater the cost.
When it comes to IT, inefficiency has a lot of hidden costs that few companies can afford. There are three areas in particular where inefficiency can bring a company to its knees. Here are three common IT inefficiencies.
Lately Sony has been all over the news, not because of the success of their blockbuster movies, but because of the most recent major hack into their system. Before going on, I want to make it clear that this type of hacking is a criminal act. The hackers are not security specialists, white hats, or folk heroes. They are criminals that should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And the law ought to be strengthened for the occasion. That said, Sony’s IT inefficiencies made them an easy target.
Had Sony followed good security hygiene, this could have been an attempted burglary instead of a burglary. Instead, Sony was cavalier about security measures such as strong passwords. They had no encryption. They didn’t have anything like file transfer software in place to help manage the flow and transfer of information across networks. A company the size of Sony has sensitive information flowing in and out of their servers all the time. They have to transfer information between vendors and clients.
An information transfer protocol with a strong focus on security would have gone a long ways towards thwarting the efforts of hackers. Sony’s caviler attitude about securing sensitive information goes all the way back to the PlayStation hacks, and continues to this day. If your business involves not just the storage, but the movement of sensitive information across networks, you will be taking a much closer look at your file transfer protocols and considering file transfer software by Cleo, which specializes in A2A and B2B integration.
It is hard to imagine a less efficient system than the one Sony employed. As a result, their secrets are now the fodder of late night comedians. They also stand a good chance of losing the lawsuit brought against them by their employees. Inefficient security can topple even the largest empires.
Corporations are notoriously slow when it comes to upgrading their computer equipment. In cube farms around the world, you will find PCs more than a decade old. You will still find many of them attached to CRT monitors. And a shockingly large number of them are running Windows XP. That is the sad state of corporate computing.
Those in charge of the purse strings seem to despise computers, treating them like a nuisance expense. If one has to be replaced, it should be replaced with an equally ancient machine, just as long as it’s cheap. But hardware inefficient hist the bottom line in ways that are not always obvious.
To save power, computers are generally shut down at the end of the day. Those old computers can take upwards of two full minutes to start. Multiplied by 30,000 seats, that is a thousand hours lost every morning just waiting for the machines to boot up. The company is paying for that thousand hours in wages as well as lost productivity. That is just from a slow boot up cycle.
Old computers running old operating systems are also extremely vulnerable to data breaches like the one recently suffered by Target. Old point-of-sale terminals are no different than old desktops. Their software is outdated and vulnerable to attacks that would be nearly impossible against newer systems.
These days, if you are not on the Internet, you don’t exist. But success requires more than mere existence. Effective Web presence requires a well-designed site. Today’s customer must be able to do everything online that they would normally do in a brick and mortar store. That includes getting fast, friendly, and reliable assistance from knowledgable staff.
The e-commerce part of the experience must be rock solid and elicit confidence from the user. It is important to accept the forms of payment your customers want to use. Paypal, Google Wallet, and now, Apple Pay have to be table stakes. Retailers should’t be competing against modern payment systems, but embracing them. An inefficient and unproven payment system will cost many sales. They might figure that if your payment systems are out of date, so might be your hardware and security.
All of these critical inefficiencies take place when companies try to save money and take shortcuts through the security, hardware, and Web presence on which their business is based. This never ends well. These problems never occur if companies don’t cheap out on the IT that matters.