A person can have their hands full setting up a company and keeping it running. There are so many considerations ranging from budgeting, employment, providing goods and services, premises, marketing, and advertising.
Virtually every business is dependent on its computers. They provide access to the internet, cloud data, customers, and so on. When a workplace goes paperless, it means the work data has migrated online. This is a very popular thing because it makes offices tidier, but it creates a huge vulnerability too. What if the computers crash or the data is hacked? Could a company survive such a hit? Let’s look at some tips to help protect a business from the unthinkable.
Understand the Implications
If a business doesn’t grasp the full risk, it will not invest in protecting its computer systems. The money will be spent on ‘more important things’ than employing quality staff to oversee the IT.
Almost one-third of all small business crimes related to malware issues. It’s a sobering statistic that the average fee to recover from an online data breach is $4m. Few small businesses have this much money in reserve! That’s why 60% of businesses only last half a year after encountering a cyber attack.
Obtain Third Party Help
It can be very reassuring when certified Microsoft or Apple engineers visit the workplace to make an IT assessment. People often employ the use of manager services so they can have the latest technology and platforms recommended to them. Such IT companies will know how to bring together the different streams of email, data storage, software, and the internet seamlessly.
On a continuing basis, IT management companies perform risk assessments, look at cost savings, and recommend upgrades and downloads.
Employ Quality IT Staff
A business should never cut corners when employing its own computer technicians. If it cannot afford a third party to oversee its IT, everything will depend on them. Computer staff will have access to all company data, so it’s essential they can be trusted.
Money should regularly be spent on keeping IT workers up to date because today’s cutting edge computer systems will become tomorrow’s dinosaurs. Spend money on training and let them gain new qualifications.
The world of IT is very broad, however, and it’s unlikely one person will have the expertise to cover everything for one business.
Manage the Staff
Every business should have an IT policy. Employees need to be educated that there are risks when a person leaves their computer unlocked. If they leave their workstation to urgently catch someone or make a coffee, anyone can access their data.
If access to the work building is gained using security cards, this can be really helpful. Different staff can be given access to different areas.
When computer data are held in the cloud, access levels can once again be restricted. Selected folk will be able to open documents, edit them, and share them. This can provide a safeguard against everyone looking at whatever they want.
Install a Firewall
This needs to be an integral part of a company’s IT infrastructure. It will be designed to keep intruders out of the computer network. Firewalls watch incoming and outgoing computer traffic day and night. If it detects something as a threat, it will report and block it.
Use Antivirus Software
These days this protects against more than just viruses. The online world is full of malware, ransomware, trojans, spyware, and more.
It’s a sound business decision when a company purchases an expensive version. This is because the more costly software can also tackle such things as online banking or phishing attacks, or spam emails.
Just as emails are more secure when they are encrypted, passwords are more secure when they are complex. Staff should have their key documents (e.g. in Excel or Word) password protected. Access to different software should be by password only.
Staff should not write down their passwords in a book. This is because the information could easily be found by someone else. The IT policy should advise that people must not share their passwords either.
Backup All Data
This can be so easy to ignore, yet be perilous in its implications. If people keep key documents on USB sticks or external drives, the data can degrade over time. They can also get lost or stolen.
When data is stored on a cloud system, it won’t matter if an individual computer or laptop breaks – the data will still be secure.
Have a Backup Generator
If a business encountered a sudden power outage, valuable equipment could be irrevocably damaged. Access could suddenly be lost to email, the internet, and the cloud. Valuable data could be lost at that moment too.
Companies should invest in backup generators. The portable versions may work for small businesses, but a fixed one would be needed for something larger. When the equipment has been installed, there would merely be a ten-second gap before the electricity was restored. It would be a totally automatic procedure, requiring no human intervention.
An added bonus would be that the electric locks, cameras, and alarms would also be back up and running in no time. The premises would be fully protected once more, including the valuable IT equipment. Staff would be able to continue working normally.
Have a Disaster Recovery Policy
Every company needs to have a business continuity plan. This would be for such events as power cuts, hurricanes, fires, or earthquakes. Perhaps an insurance policy should be put in place.
Businesses should consider certain scenarios and document how the company could continue. A strategy would need to be put in place. If a third party company is overseeing the IT system, they would be able to help with compiling this report.
Companies should look at what is held online or in paper format. What data would be backed up, and could there be alternative premises and equipment available at short notice? These are all valuable questions.
We have discussed enough aspects to realize that IT problems can not just cripple a company- they can destroy it. Businesses are not wasting money when they act to protect themselves; they are investing in their future. Everything has to work together, from the equipment to the staff and external companies.