LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS
spotting it risks before they become a problem
jessica murray, LUTZ TECH account manager
With technology being as vital as it is to business, staying ahead of your IT troubles is an essential step to keeping your doors open. Being proactive with your IT goes a long way to preventing breaches of your network and sensitive data. Let’s look at some of the lurking threats to your systems and what you can do to spot them before they become a problem.
How old your hardware is can pose a risk. Once equipment gets more than a few years old, the manufacturer stops supporting it. The lack of updates means there are fewer people with the skills to fix problems, and it makes them more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
One example of this is spectre, a security vulnerability that has been identified on chips that are over five years old. Using spectre, hackers can access computer data without you knowing.
It can also be difficult to access data and provide the lightning-fast service that many clients demand, as well as rising maintenance and energy costs. Software is similar in that it is only worthwhile as long as it is up to date. Cisco’s Annual Security Report found that out of the 115,000 devices they scanned, 92% ran software with known vulnerabilities. Upgrading your software and hardware will cost money, but it is much cheaper than a full-scale data breach.
Having redundancies in your system is what keeps you up and running when something goes wrong. If something fails, or part of your system loses power, having a back up is essential to keep business running as usual. For smaller companies, this can be as simple as a spare laptop. More prominent companies require having systems like redundant ISPs, firewalls, and other systems.
Keep your data safe
The only way to ensure that your data will always be there and accessible is to back it up. If you have a disaster strike, are a victim to a cyber-attack, or have faulty hardware, still having access to all your data is essential. Data can be backed up on-site, where your business is located, or offsite, either another remote location or in the cloud. Keeping your data backed up in a variety of ways helps to ensure that you’ll always have it. The 3-2-1 back up strategy, for instance, is where you will keep three copies of your data in two different media, and at least one copy is backed up offsite.
If you need to keep it from prying eyes now, encrypt it. That means all communications in and out of your office need to be encrypted. For the most secure network full disk encryption, where the entire hard drive, including data, files, the operating system, and software is locked up, is a good idea. Most major vendors today offer full disk encryption.
Make sure only the Right People Get Access to Your System
People love to be lazy when it comes to picking passwords. Given a choice, we would use the same ones for almost everything. Having a proper password policy in place is crucial to make sure that the passwords your employees are using aren’t easy to predict. Setting minimum standards for length and complexity, having a system to change those passwords, and making sure that nobody is sharing that information helps to close the door on intruders.
Using tools like multi-factor authentication can help tremendously in keeping unwanted people off of your servers. While just a password can be hacked, it is much harder to fake your geolocation or login behavior patterns. Considering that 95% of cyber attacks are done using stolen login data, adding that extra step to your email, VPN and desktop logon will save a lot of headaches.
Business Continuity Plan with Disaster Recovery Plan
You need to have an answer to the question, “What happens when our services drop?” Having a plan in place gets things moving faster to fix problems and keeps people from panicking.
Business continuity refers to maintaining business functions going or quickly restarting them if something happens. If the power goes out, where will everyone work? Will they go home, to another office, to the nearest Starbucks? How will you access data when part of the network is down? How long can you afford to be down, and how can you ensure you won’t go over that time? Who are you going to call? The better you can answer these questions now, the better off you will be when the worst happens.
Start by identifying these things: the scope of the plan, key business areas, critical functions of your business, identify dependencies you have between regions, find the acceptable downtime, and plan how to maintain operations.
Your disaster recovery plan focuses on getting your IT infrastructure up and running after something happens. If a disaster hits, will you be ready? Can you withstand a fire, flood, or cyber-attack? Do you have your data backed up offsite? Do you have a telephone backup plan? Having effective plans tested and in place will allow you to stay competitive no matter what.
In summary, understanding the risks your company faces relating to its technology is crucial in helping prevent any possible issues before they arise. Staying on top of all of these measures will keep your IT up and running and will instill confidence in your company for your clients and customers. If you need assistance, or if you have any questions, contact Lutz Tech today!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JESSICA MURRAY + ACCOUNT MANAGER
Jessica Murray is an Account Manager at Lutz Tech. She has over 5 years of experience in the technology field. Jessica is a trusted advisor that sees clients through the full sales cycle. Her responsibilities include developing proposals and providing recommendations to clients to assist them in reaching their business goals.
AREAS OF FOCUS
- Client Relations
- BS in Management Information Systems, Briar Cliff University, Sioux City, IA
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