In my 15+ years serving companies across a wide range of industries, I’ve noticed consistent trends in IT decision-making. Whether I’m working with a non-profit, a graphic design firm, or an emerging marketing technology brand, everyone tends to make the same top 5 mistakes. And they call us to make it right:
IT Consulting is More Than Fixing A Computer
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IT will never be an income generator. But that does not mean you get to slash the IT budget year over year. Companies tend to forget that they can not function without IT. Employees tend to think of IT only when things are bad, but keep in mind that for you to do your job, we already did ours. There is a direct relationship between employee productivity, and IT spend. To keep people productive, get them newer computers with faster processors, more memory, and bigger hard drives. Invest in better internet connections and better firewalls. Get that speed up as fast as you can, while still maintaining security. The ROI on IT investment proves itself quickly.
2 – Not having enough security
Not having enough security. Yes, I could have lumped points one and two together as companies should spend more on security, but the reason it is separate is companies need to spend a lot more on security. Email phishing attempts are on the rise. More and more clients end up with data on the Dark web. So if you are not going to be buying into new computers, or internet speeds, spend your money here. Ensure you have the following:
A spam filter - yes, Google and Microsoft ofter spam catching, but you need something more robust.
Email security - this is on top of spam filtering. Email security services allow IT managers to block bad emails, spoofed emails, and help prevent email phishing. With specific tools, you can even stop hackers from logging into your email based on where in the world they are.
Firewalls, switches, and access points. Having better networking hardware provides the ability to ensure data coming into and out of your office is secure and encrypted in most cases, such as VPN. Better access points mean you are taking advantage of newer security features like WPA2-Enterprise, eliminating the need for sharing the Wifi password.
For fileshare, if you have a local on-prem server in your office, make sure you have a good VPN with your firewall. This will ensure traffic is encrypted between your users at home and the office. If you go with a cloud-based server, ask the company for their SOC2 and ISO reports. This will show you they are using encryption for data transmitted to and from the server and while the data is resting on the server. Cloud-based solutions eliminate the need for a VPN in most cases. You can still add a level of security by having a VPN (either to your firewall in the office or a 3rd party product).
Backups! Computers are complicated versions of a light bulb. One day they work, and one day they don’t. Users, despite having a centralized file server, will continue to save things to their desktops. Make sure not only are user computers backed up, but your servers are as well. Core data should be backed up in multiple ways in multiple places. You need to have a local differential copy, a local clone copy, and at least one (better if two) offsite clone copies.
3 – Recognizing that hacking is real
Many companies tend to say, “We aren’t public enough to hack. No one wants our data.” That is 100% not-true. Hackers don’t hack because they are targeting you (ok, some do), but in most cases, they are hacking you because they can. For them, it’s a game. Can I get into this system? What can I gather from this system? Many times the easiest thing to hack is a website. The number of WordPress sites we’ve seen hacked because of not taking the right precautions is too high. And the repercussions of those breaches can be time consuming and expensive. Be smart and put the proper protections in place.
4 – Stopping productivity by forcing particular systems on employees
Yes, in IT, we want to have total control over things, and having more tools is harder to manage - but when it comes to employees, we need them to be as productive as possible. Why do we force companies to be only PC or only Mac? Let the employees decide what machines they want to use. Make them feel welcome to come to IT with suggestions on new apps or services. There is a delicate balance between streamlining processes and preventing efficiency. Ensure you regularly check in with your employees on their satisfaction with your toolsets, take suggestions, and stay agile. Some of the most effective IT setups are those in which employees have choices between a predetermined, secure set of options.
5 – Aiming for perfection
I’m guilty of this one myself. We often buy into multiple software solutions to get to 100% accomplishment, when a single solution could do 80%. To determine if a solution is going to work, you need to go all in. When you find something that can get you 80% of the way there, chances are it will be a better decision in the long run than trying to Frankenstein together multiple solutions that will eventually misplace one another and cause many headaches. Choose partners with strong service capability, flexibility, and staying power. After some time with that 80% solution, you may realize you don’t even need the other 20% you were initially looking for.
Any of the above sound familiar? Could you use an expert to help guide you through your IT decision making? Contact us today to set up a complimentary consultation.