Sometimes the best thing you can do is pull away from the day to day craziness and look at the big picture. See the forest thru the trees. The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to do a strategic health check.
So let’s see if we can help you with some IT strategy. Better yet, we put together a list of the top 7 areas we get questions on from CEOs and Managers and see if we can help guide your 2019 planning. Here we go…
1. Fire Trucks Out Front
What would you do if you pulled up to work one day and the fire trucks were out front? Maybe the server area caught fire. Maybe the building burned down and no one can work. Other variations of this include a criminal stealing the server and backups. Or maybe after a hurricane there will be no electricity for weeks.
Do you have a plan for how to get to your data? A place for everyone to work? Backups offsite? Preparing BEFORE is MUCH easier than during such a situation.
2. Working from Home
Can you and others work from home? Can you do it safely? Is it fast and powerful?
Keep in mind, if you can remote in, the bad guys might be able to also. Maybe time to review your current system and improve and secure?
3. Lost Productivity
Technology is a mixed blessing. As amazing as it is, you know problem are going to happen. It’s not “if”, it’s “when”. Here are a few things to investigate and improve.
Do you have a spare computer in the office so that if someone’s computer dies, you have a “hot spare” to put them back to work until a new one can arrive? Next time you replace a working/good computer, keep it in inventory for a pinch situation.
What about slow computers? Some people try to keep them longer to avoid buying the cost. However, there is a huge cost over time for people who are constantly waiting on their computer, or crashing or rebooting. Even a minimum wage person that has delays, errors and reboots can cost you more in lost productivity than a new computer would cost.
How fast is your internet? Is it reliable? Can you be mostly productive when it’s down or is it a huge impact? Should you have a second, failover connection?
Do you have any old apps/systems? Do you have support on them? If (WHEN) the app dies, will it be a problem?
Are there any key devices on your network that would cause a major interruption if they died? Router? Switch? Firewall? Is there a way to mitigate that risk?
Is alerting setup on key equipment so if something was going wrong internally, or a part failed, you would be notified? Are systems being patch and maintained?
4. You’re the Boss!
We get this one a lot too. Are you the boss (or any other job that is NOT in IT) but you spend too much time on IT and computer issues? Have you become the IT guy? Is it effecting how well you do your “real” job?
What about any of your staff? Did they get sucked into IT? Is the person doing IT trained and making sound decisions or winging it?
5. Goofing Off
Are you concerned about any employees goofing off? Studies show the typical employee spends an average of 2 hours a day goofing off on their computer. Ouch.
Worse, the weakest part of computer security is the person using the computer. Is their goofing off putting the firm at risk? Tons of ransomware attacks, money stolen, passwords breached are the result of someone playing a game or on a questionable site.
This one topic is not only critical, a book could be written on the topic and that wouldn’t even scratch the surface. So here are a few quickies to get you thinking. Remember, (1) Just reviewing security is a huge improvement when so many ignore it and (2) ANYTHING is better than doing nothing!
What is on your network that is concerning if a bad guy got into or broke? A client Database? Accounting? The firms Social Media account? Sending eMail as the owner or executives?
Could a hacker already be in your system? Most breaches aren’t caught until months later if they are EVER caught at all.
Are passwords complex? Are you using 2FA (See the other article on this in this months newsletter)? Are separate unique passwords used for ever system?
Are desktops and servers being patched every month?
When an employee leaves are they taking data? Do you have a procedure to insure they are out of everything? Is data guarded even internally among staff?
How about a free security strategic checklist. Check out https://www.infostream.cc/checklist/#.YPlm7qYzbDc
7. Your IT Guy
How do you know if your IT person is doing a good job? Just because they “fix” issues doesn’t mean a storm isn’t brewing. Some people are good at being Reactive but not Proactive and it can be hard to recover from that over time.
Also, if you check nothing else, be sure your disaster recovery and backup solution are rock solid. Being able to recover a lost file is a no brainer but can they easily recover a completely crashed server? We regularly get called into firms when their existing IT firm has been trying for DAYS to recover a server and getting nowhere. Unfortunately, that’s a question they should have been asking BEFORE the crash as in many cases it’s too late at that point.
How fast does your IT person respond when there is a problem? Do they fix one thing and break another?
Want a free strategic checklist that may help you give your annual review to your IT system? Check out https://www.infostream.cc/checklist/#.YPlm7qYzbDc.
Hope these tips and ideas help! Just reviewing your IT systems from a strategic point of view now and then can really help things run better and prevent issues!