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Got IT? Here’s What They Do vs. What Everyone Thinks They Do

Got IT? Here’s What They Do vs. What Everyone Thinks They Do

Vallery Henings

November 19, 2020 (modified on May 3, 2024)


Are you contemplating hiring some IT staff or getting yourself set up with an IT department to manage your business? As you grow from a start-up to a bigger company this can be a great investment.

But have you ever wondered what does IT do? It’s all too easy to just hand over the running of your computer systems to a random third party without questioning what they are actually there for.

Here’s everything you need to know about information technology and what the IT department’s responsibilities and duties are.

1. Have You Tried Turning It Off and On Again?

Laptop power button

That almost cliched line made famous by The IT Crowd, a British Satire, has seeped into the popular imagination.

People think that IT people spend most of their time talking to people who don’t know anything about computers and asking them if they have completed a simple task. There is some truth to this. Sometimes the simplest problem is the best solution and the one that the average user has forgotten to try.

Sometimes, yes, this is about rebooting the system or restarting your OS to get it up and running it again. Computers are a lot like humans. They can only run for so long before they get bogged down and tired and need a reboot.

There are also a host of other simple tasks and shortcuts that IT staff are there to implement such as using task manager to end programs that are not responding or clearing the cache in your browser from time-to-time. They should also be able to fix these common security issues that many users face.

IT department staff can also install new updates seamlessly such as the latest Mac OS update Big Sur, scheduled for release in November 2020. Normal users might find this challenging or it might be an update that needs to be implemented across the whole server.

2. Keeping Your Company Safe: Cybersecurity

Command line

A large part of the IT department’s responsibilities and duties these days is keeping your system safe and secure. This makes sure no malicious bugs or viruses get into the system. These could occur organically or they could be put there by hackers.

Hackers have a variety of motives to attack customers in 2020. They might want to extort money out of you and use ransomware to get it. They might feel that as a private company doing well you are fair game. But this is not the case.

An IT department or company can be constantly monitoring the systems and improving them to defend them from attack. If strong and quick action needs to be taken, they can be there to take your whole system offline if need be. They can also help you with how to remove Chromium or other malware from your device.

All IT companies have learned cybersecurity lessons during this pandemic which have helped make working from home more secure.

Data Attacks

If you deal with other people’s data then the chances are you might also be fair game for an attack. The hackers will be after the data you have on your customers or clients and may want to leak this or use it for their own ends.

They could also use this data to blackmail you for money. An IT department will know how to handle this.

They will also know how to make sure you comply with all the relevant data protection laws for your country or state. Therefore if a breach does happen, you will be legally protected and won’t be liable for legal or criminal action.

3. Building the Empire

Woman writing on whiteboard

As well as keeping your current IT systems in place and protecting you against enemy invasion in the form of viruses, your IT department should also be looking ahead.

You want a computer system that enables you to build your company. The way to do this is to constantly have a pulse on what your company needs to succeed. This could be anything from getting new hardware: brand new state-of-the-art laptops for your employees that allow them to work from home more effectively or webcams.

It could also involve scaling your server so that it has more memory capacity and the ability to work on highly intensive software packages or videogames.

If you are running a film editing company then as you edit more and more advanced films you are going to need more space and more sophisticated computers to help you move forward.

Make a List

Every time a problem arises be sure to make a list of what has gone wrong and what software you need to solve it.

For instance, if you are a music maker and use Sibelius, the notation software asks your team to make a note if there’s an instrument, sound, or plugin not available for them that they need.

If, for example, you use Google Docs to make your remote working life easier for things such as collaboration then be sure to keep a note of any bugs that might occur to feed back to your IT team.

What Does IT Do? Anything You Want Them To

Many people wonder what does IT do? Are they some mythical department that doesn’t really exist or are they all workaholics with super-human knowledge?

The truth is that they are both. The IT department of a major business will be working hard behind the scenes, fending off viruses from hackers trying to steal your data and extort money from your company. But they will also be keeping the day-to-day systems up and running whilst also looking forward.

If you are interested in learning more about what does IT do or what is information technology, be sure to check out the rest of our site.