Understanding the Cost of IT Outages

You insure your business, home, auto, life, health, maybe even purchase some sort of insurance for information technology.  Utilizing insurance as a tool to mitigate financial risk is common practice. Much of the insurance we purchase we don’t think twice about as we may be mandated to comply or it just makes good logical sense when considering the potential downside.

The same logic however many times does not seem to apply when considering what the cost of an IT outage means to a particular business and what the organization can do to better prepare to mitigate the risk.  Many small to mid-sized businesses knowingly have significant IT risks due to weak implementations and poor operational management and choose to act only when crisis erupts, deferring the obvious believing this is some how sensible.  Many times a major IT disruption severely impacts the business and its ability to operate for an extended period leading to both financial and long-lasting reputational harm.

Perhaps many businesses are not thinking about the daily cost of slow downs, minor outages, and other nuisances which make the staff and business inefficient.  There is a quantifiable cost and in most cases it far exceeds the cost to maintain the right equipment and operational support. Beyond that, proper maintenance ensures that the likelihood of major disruptions are significantly reduced.

Most small to mid sized businesses are experts in areas other then information technology.  Even organizations that properly fund IT initiatives may find it difficult to hire, retain and manage the area. Managed Services Providers can be a beneficial resource to expand technical expertise, oversee key areas, reduce the cost of operations while improving service levels.

For further information about how Network Management Solutions can assist your organization in improving services while effectively managing technology spend please contact us.

 

 

Bring Your Own Device – App Crazy

Information loss happens in a variety of ways.

This can be through cyber theft, unintentional action exposing sensitive data, loss of a device, and a host of other ways.  Many organizations find it hard to consider that there is sensitive information within the company that is of value to others and beyond that perhaps targeted by outsiders and or insiders.

Since the organization rarely considers its “information assets” there is no strategy in place to monitor and mange the exchange of company information.  Not until such time that there is a crisis do many organizations stop and think, “how did this happen”?

The growing acceptance of a “bring your own device to work” is increasing organizational susceptibility to information loss.  iPads, iPhones, Androids, all are welcome.   Compounding the issue is allowing the end user of the device to install whatever apps they might choose.  All apps are not created the same nor appear to be what they are at all times.

Malicious applications, improperly coded apps that contain vulnerabilities, and applications granted permissions on install to sensitive data stores by unknowable users, are all considerable avenues for data loss.

When data losses occur how does the organization know?  If a personal device is lost that contains sensitive information, how is the organization notified?  Are they?  How is the data secured, retrieved, or wiped?

Its too late when business owners face ex-employess who become competitors, or sensitive communications wind up in the hands of competitors, or data losses lead to legal and or PR nightmares.

Clearly any organization that moves forward with BYOD or any mobile strategy without a clear cut plan that is supported by the necessary tools, process and procedures is broadening its potential for data loss.

Bring your own device to work, install your own apps, that’s crazy!

 

 

Ten IT Tips to Protect Your Business

Strong IT practices are essential to the success of any business.  Lacking IT oversight can directly contribute to computer outages, lost data, data thefts, reduced employee productivity and ultimately business losses.  Many organizations struggle with the costs of IT or ignore proper practices until a catastrophic event occurs that threatens the viability of the business.

Break fix service providers, limited in-house resources, lacking tools or manpower to monitor activity do not provide the critical oversight necessary to protect the business.  Extended damages can occur when routine tasks are not managed properly.

Many small to mid sized business owners do not become aware of lacking IT practices until there is a crisis.  While other areas of the business may undergo risk review and mitigation, the information technology area is many times overlooked.  This critical mistake can cost the organization dearly. Lacking attention and oversight of IT  is unwise.  Here are a few tips to help management conduct some oversight of information technology.

1. Set a strategy and framework to guide all activity and ensure  an ongoing dialogue

2. Identify key company data and segment access on a need to know basis

3. Ensure that proper backups are run on a daily basis and that the data is securely stored

4. Ensure that OS updates are reviewed and applied on a regular basis.  Update Antivirus daily.

5. Implement software based firewalls that control application behavior on desktops and servers

6. Implement outbound filtering on network layer firewalls

7. Implement a web based email filtering service and  content filtering service for web browsing

8. Control the use of personal devices for remote access and remote desktop programs like LogMeIn

9. Baseline and monitor the availability, performance and security of your environment ongoing

10. Conduct regular third party reviews of IT practices, business processes, and compensating controls

Most important is to have the proper professionals engaged to manage the infrastructure, protect information assets, provide oversight, and reduce risk within your business. Network Management Solutions provides robust solutions, expertise and resources to complement and support your business objectives.  Please contact us for further information.