If you've been putting your business technology needs on the back burner, chances are, you'll hear some hard truths when you do decide to call on a computer consultant or IT business partner to assess your company.
For a long time, businesses were able to sneak by without strong IT infrastructure and policies. Those days are over and they're not coming back. Businesses are more reliant than ever on technology and that comes with the responsibility of building a sensible and secure strategy around it.
Once you partner with an IT agency or bring in computer consultant, they'll begin by identifying weaknesses in your IT strategy and then providing guidance and solutions. But, the first evaluation might be rough! Here are 5 phrases you never want to hear from a computer consultant:
1. "I guessed your admin password on the first try"
It sounds almost too simple, but a strong password is still one of the best preventative security measures. It's the first line of defense between a potential hacker or criminal and your vital business data. Passwords should be impossible to guess, comprised of randomized numbers, letters, and special characters. Most people can't commit to memory several strong passwords. Instead, consider using a password manager. You'll have to create and remember one password that will give you access to all others. Don't make life easy on cybercriminals. Don't use obvious passwords to protect business data.
2. "Your last software update happened when Bill Clinton was President"
Software needs to be updated. Even if it is annoying to have that prompt spring up on your computer every week or so. If you allow your software to become dated, it's also less secure and less effective. All of the software you use in your business should be regularly updated so that all of the latest security patches and improvements are made available to you. If a computer consultant finds '1997' after a software program name, that's not good. Not only does dated software undermine your ability to do business, it makes your company vulnerable.
3. "You print and store files in a box as a backup solution?"
Data storage has become a hot topic in IT over the past few years. But, the topic at hand tackles the intricate specifics of data storage and backups - like the debate over public cloud, personal cloud, or hybrid cloud. Some businesses, however, are not currently backing up their data at all. Or, they're printing files and keeping them in boxes in the storage room. Those types of inefficient and dangerous (think building fire) storage methods won't cut it. A sophisticated business continuity plan is a must for businesses. Data storage and backups aren't something that can be taken lightly.
4. "WiFi shouldn't be wide open"
By 'wide open' your computer consultant means 'not secure.' Any WiFI network that isn't password protected is fair game for any passerby or cybercriminal to use to their advantage. Make sure that any activity that goes on over your WiFi network is monitored. That will help you identify issues and any suspicious activity. Securing your network is an important step toward developing an overall data security strategy. Hackers and other cybercriminals are becoming more advanced in their methods. So, businesses need to be too. Start by locking down your networks.
5. "Your employees are taking needless risks"
What is one of the most common reasons why businesses don't have strong IT? People. Specifically, untrained people. It is up to each business to train their team on the importance of security and to equip them with best practices for safe technology use at work. For example, e-mail is an easily accessible communication channel. Sharing private or proprietary information over e-mail is an easy way to leak it. The same idea applies to opening suspicious e-mails and clicking on links that may invite malware onto company computers. These mistakes can be avoided with a technology training strategy.
Don't want to hear these phrases? Take a close look at your IT strategy and reach out for help if you can see areas of weakness that need improvement.