Making Technology Work for Your Company
Technology has become pervasive. So much so that we like to say that today every company is a technology company. Every one uses technology. And innovations come so fast and furiously that it seems like it’s a full-time job keeping up. Just how much can the average business executive know about network security, cloud computing, servers, ransomware, processors, routers or firewalls? There is so much information out there, so much to know, that anyone trying to learn it all would spend years catching up. That’s why companies like ours exist, but there are still some things you can and should do on your own to be more efficient, to make sure your network is secure, and eliminate the tech logjam that way too many companies deal with. Here are easy steps:
1: Employee training. This is an important protection that is much too easy to overlook. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” is an attitude that may work in plumbing or highway repair, but not in technology. Did you know that the majority of infrastructure problems occur when employees click on something in an email? Or that productivity is lost when employees are embarrassed to ask questions about how to get the most out of the applications they are using, like Word or Excel? As a business owner or executive, you need to make sure enough time is taken to train your people on their technology. Everyone who applies for a job these days claims expertise in Office, or Office 365, but most only know the fundamentals and can be wasting time for years to come.
2: Keep your equipment up-to-date. I know. You really don’t want to spend money on new equipment when the old stuff seems to be working fine. But once equipment manufacturers stop supporting older models of hardware and software, you open yourself up to a wide variety of security problems and failures. Outdated security is a prime target of cyber-criminals as they know that the manufacturers are no longer providing security updates.
The amount of time wasted on waiting for slow machines is also astonishing. If you lose 10 minutes a day, which may not seem like much, that comes to 43+ hours a year, or a full week of work lost, not to mention the frustration level of your employees.
3: Securing your network. No-brainer here. But many small businesses assume that because they are small, they are safe. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cyber criminals prefer going after small businesses because they know these businesses are less likely to have the protections in place that keep them out! Various recent studies have shown that as much as 43% of cyber attacks these days are against small businesses. If you aren’t sure how to secure your network, you need to be working with a qualified managed IT support company.
4: Security patches. This is one that many businesses do not keep up with. Patches are generated by software manufacturers when a flaw or weakness is discovered. These flaws and weaknesses are what are explored by cyber-criminals to attack a company’s infrastructure to either steal data or install ransomware. The trick is to get these patches installed BEFORE your network is attacked. This is another area for which meeting with an experienced managed IT support company may make sense.
5: Passwords. If you read our blogs and white papers, you know that this is something we talk about regularly. There is good reason. It’s way too easy to use a simple password over and over but the downside could be catastrophic. Here are two schools of thought on passwords:
A: Use a combination of upper case, lower case, number and characters…but they should not relate back to you. For example, fTr$#u& would be considered strong. mYbDayApr14 is not. Criminals use algorithms that can process thousands of variations of your birthday in seconds.
B: New thinking says that it is better to use a string of words that have no relation to each other, but that you can easily remember, for example, housebaseballrabbit or bathtubcrownextreme. The number of possibilities for 26 x 26 x 26 for 20 letters, is 766 nonillion possibilities (30 zeros), and that becomes unmanageable for the cybercriminal, yet is easy for you to remember.
6: Backup your data. Nothing is more important. In fact, we recently wrote a whole White Paper on Data Backup & Disaster Recovery, so rather than repeat ourselves, we strongly suggest you take a few minutes to read it.
Those are six important steps you can take to make sure your technology is working for you, not against you. Here’s one more: speak with a managed IT service provider that can offer you the services you need to make sure your network is safe and secure and your employees are functioning at peak performance. At Novatech, we have been providing managed IT service in Atlanta to small and mid-sized companies of all types for more than 25 years. We will provide you with an extensive complimentary infrastructure and security assessment, and a review of the services we believe will be both cost effective and enable you to take full advantage of the technology that can power your business forward. Call us today at 777.569.4600, or visit us at www.novatech.net