When's the last time you got through a day of work without using your network?
You rely on information technology to get your work done. When the various systems in your office aren't working effectively – your servers, networks, copiers, computers, firewall, etc. – productivity dips.
When your IT team struggles to find the time in their day to juggle all of the tasks required to keep the IT infrastructure humming:
- Patching and updating software and services
- Backing up data
- Monitoring for security threats
Not to mention troubleshooting user issues, trying to plan for the future, and to keep professional knowledge up-to-date.
These network management tasks are all important for the secure transmission of data – between co-workers and with your customers.
And that's just a very short list of network security challenges.
Most in-house SMB IT teams are hanging on by their fingernails – and fall behind on patching and backups are two common side effects (both of which leave your data exposed to cybercriminals).
So what’s a business owner to do? Your existing staff is close to being overwhelmed. Hiring another full-time employee is expensive (and IT staff, particularly those with expertise in cybersecurity, are hard to find).
If any of this sounds like your current IT situation, you should at least think about managed networks and managed IT outsourcing and what taking routine IT task off of your in-house IT's plate could do for their productivity.
Whether you go it alone, have a managed IT partner do it all for you, or take a hybrid approach; these six actions are ones every business needs to take when it comes to their IT and information security.
These six components are your keys to IT success.
1. Proactive monitoring and comprehensive security.
System maintenance is 24/7 concern. However, for most businesses, it's impossible to proactively monitor systems around the clock. I mean, if you have three IT staffers, they do have to sleep! They're monitoring will necessarily be reactive – checking system logs when they get into work or reacting to red alerts on a weekend.
Proactive monitoring means 24/7/365 real-time monitoring of your network and automatic system updates and security patches and identification of problems before they happen. These actions prevent system downtime. A managed IT partner can provide these managed network services for you – which also frees up your existing IT staff to focus on internal IT process improvements.
2. Fully encrypted data.
Data needs to be encrypted at rest and in transit. At rest encryption could even include the data residing in your copier hard drive (check with one of our copier experts if you have questions).
3. A layered approach to network security.
As cybercriminals and assorted hackers become more sophisticated, relying on a front-line layer for anti-virus, anti-malware, firewalls, and other basic yet critical programs isn't always enough. There's a trade off between risk/vulnerability and extra layers of security, but the extra layers are often worth it. Layers that stop Adobe Flash and Java exploits, for example. For any Shrek fans out there, security is like an onion – there are layers.
4. Single point of support.
Our IT help desk answers the phone – no runaround, no wasted time. We triage all support requests so that we can promptly service issues that affect business operations. With one partner providing multiple services, one number to call makes IT support fast, simple, and gives you peace of mind knowing that you know who to call for your IT needs. You can read more about how our IT help desk works here.
5. Password management.
Ignoring password hygiene can kill your security efforts. A 2015 Dell report found that:
- 77% of consumers hadn’t changed their passwords in a year or more
- 21% still used passwords more than 10 years old
- 73% used duplicate passwords for multiple accounts
- 40% said they’d been hacked at some point
With millions of passwords breached each year, proper management is now a must. Strong and unique passwords (and using different passwords for business versus personal use) is only a start. For additional layers of security, consider two-factor authentication, a form of double-layer security that requires users to enter their normal password along with a unique code that’s sent via text or email. If you're in a regulated industry, this extra layer could be required. There are cloud-based password management solutions available to make forgetting these passwords a non-issue (unless, of course, you forget the password to your password solution! Write that one down somewhere safe, which means NOT on a Post-It note on your computer monitor.)
6. Back up and recovery.
A solid back up strategy is critical for business continuity and as a last line of defense against a ransomware attack. By enabling quick recovery of information, you minimize data loss in the event of a server crash or successful hack. Here's what business owners should know about data backup.
Proactive Security Just Makes Sense
With disruptive IT forces like cloud computing, increased cybercriminal activity, a rapid move to mobility, and the influx of new devices, a comprehensive approach to IT makes more and more sense. If you’re like most businesses, you don’t have the resources to devote to managing the complexity of technology. And even if you did, accomplishing such a task is probably more difficult now than ever before.
Coordinated can help. If you'd like us to perform a no-hassle IT assessment for your company, contact us today.
Otherwise, you can download our managed IT toolkit to learn more about these issues (and then contact us!).