In our last blog post, IT Horror Stories That Make For Invaluable Technology Education, we detailed three of the most common IT disasters. In this post, we reveal the measures you should take to prevent your company from experiencing the same fates as countless others.
Horror Story #1 – Security And Confidentiality
Security breaches, both internal and external, pose a serious threat to your business and customers. Target’s security breach cost 70 million customers their credit and debit card information, names, addresses and phone numbers.
It’s imperative to understand and recognize that anyone involved in your IT operations has the potential to access your business information. Everything you store, share and “secure” in your IT systems is subject to the trustworthiness of your team members.
When it comes to your IT support team or partner, make sure that you take the proper legal precautions. You should have agreements in place, such as non-disclosure and confidentiality contracts.
Partner with a neutral third-party security provider or put security software in place to protect your digital environment. Such a system must pinpoint all of the avenues by which potential security risks or confidentiality leaks might occur. It should also have the capability to lock out any user once he or she leaves your company.
Horror Story #2 – Hostage Of Technology
Leaving an individual or small group fully responsible for IT operations puts you at risk of being “held hostage” by your technology if a key person becomes ill or leaves your team.
Small and mid-sized organizations typically have a more difficult time staffing a robust team of tech support. It’s a simple budget restriction. While it might seem counterintuitive, you’re best served by creating some redundancy with IT team members. If you have room in your budget, adding another IT employee helps to disperse knowledge of your systems across multiple people. Should something happen with your “Key Man,” this enables a reliable backup. And if an IT team member exits the company, someone is there to keep your systems up and running properly.
Team Technology Education
Even if you don’t have the budget flexibility for additional IT staff, you should have more than one person with proficient knowledge of your IT system. Make sure your employees are at least familiar with your company-wide systems and processes. This technology education is an important precaution. As a safety net, pinpoint the talents of various employees and cultivate those skills in case you need them in a trying situation. And if you train your team to utilize systems in a uniform manner, it decreases the risk of a break or failure.
Team Expansion Or IT Consultants
Companies should also consider either expanding their IT team or seeking external IT support. Outsourcing makes the most sense if you need a bigger IT team with great resources. Creating such a team internally is going to be very costly. In most cases, outsourcing is both more cost-effective and more time-efficient because such a support team has all of the necessary skills, tools, resources and focus your company requires.
Horror Story #3 – Ownership Of Technology
Certain components of an IT environment are proprietary to the IT company and must be purchased for a substantial fee to keep technological systems in place.
When your system is being developed or upgraded, pay attention to everything you’re getting from your provider. Some applications or tools may be proprietary. Recognize that there are inherent risks if you decide to change providers or systems down the road.
Communicate with your IT team or provider. Be sure to ask questions to clarify exactly what you should expect to gain from their support. For example:
- What tools, apps and parts of my system don’t I own?
- Is any aspect of my system proprietary to the IT provider, which I would lose or be expected to pay for if service were discontinued at any point?
- Is any of the equipment supporting my company’s system (server, routers, monitors) owned by my provider?
- If so, could I purchase the equipment from my provider – or elsewhere – to be sure that I have ownership over all of my business technology?
Owning your equipment, apps and tools mitigates the risk inherent in having your IT consultant possess pieces of your system.
These common IT horror stories are undoubtedly preventable. Take the necessary steps to mitigate the risk of falling victim to their problems. With proper upfront planning, your IT environment and company are in a much safer place.
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