IT professionals are tasked with a very important job: protecting their companies’ digital infrastructure and digital assets from all threats and intrusions. It’s a big job. And, often, it’s a thankless one. After all, in many cases, the only interactions co-workers have with IT staff is when something is wrong.
Internet down? Call the IT guy, pronto.
Restarting your laptop for the fourth time this week for some generic updates? Ugh, the IT department is so overbearing.
An application isn’t functioning properly on your desktop? Must be the IT guy’s fault. What’s so hard about keeping dozens of workstations working in perfect condition, anyway?
In our hyper-busy work culture, interruptions to our daily routines are often received less than enthusiastically. But, in reality, it isn’t the IT guys fault if a network cable goes bad and temporarily shuts off your internet access; or, if the app you’re using wasn’t coded for your off-brand browser. And the IT department certainly can’t be blamed when you ignore a prompt to run software updates on your machine for the gazillionth time in the last month and your laptop freaks out and literally won’t let you log on.
At root of the problem is a simple difference in understanding of the technology we all use on a daily basis. While it’s the IT professionals’ job to know the ins and outs of the high-tech tools we all rely on, the rest of us are merely equipped with just enough knowledge to use these tools effectively.
Let’s face it, we’re not going to solve the disconnect between your rank-and-file employees and your IT team any time soon. But, what smart business owners and executives can do is equip the IT team to minimize avoidable problems and reduce their exposure to the wrath of the rest of your staff.
So, with this being the holiday season, and in the spirit of giving, here are a few suggestions of what to get your IT team to help make their jobs just a bit easier.
IT Guy’s Holiday Wish List
Unified Threat Management (UTM) Solutions
If you’re looking for a way to optimize your IT department’s capabilities, a do-it-all device or virtual service that combines antivirus, anti-malware, firewall, intrusion prevention, virtual private networking (VPN), web filtering and data loss protection can go a long way. For small businesses with small IT teams, UTM makes a ton of sense, as it simplifies the management of all digital security elements.
UTM solutions offer great protection from coordinated attacks that target different aspects of your network simultaneously. They are also attractive for businesses that operate in highly regulated industries, like healthcare or law, as they are designed to be compliant with legal requirements such as HIPAA, CIPA and GLBA.
To be fair, there’s a downside to UTM’s greatest appeal. Concentrating all of your security operations in one place makes your UTM device/service a potential single point of failure. When you put all your security eggs in one basket, hackers just need to bypass that one basket in order to breach your system.
That said, simplicity is a valuable commodity.
Want to make your IT team really happy? Teach your employees to better recognize phishing attempts, spoofing exploits and other hacks that can potentially expose your business network to bad actors.
There is strength in numbers. If everyone on your team understands the digital security threat landscape, everyone can participate in keeping your digital assets safe.
Remember, it’s the human element that’s the weakest link in a secure network, not the technology. Practice and repetition can reduce the chances that one of your employees is fooled by a social engineering exploit.
Running your network on old equipment makes your IT team’s job harder. It’s slower, requires more maintenance and, in many cases, is less secure than the newer generation of security tech. Take stock of your current setup and identify the oldest, weakest link. Better yet, consult with the head of your IT team and see what he or she recommends.
New servers, storage equipment and network gear are all great investments for your digital infrastructure. Besides, new toys make everyone happy.
Beacon Knows the Holidays
From all of us at Beacon, to all of you out there, we wish you the happiest of holiday seasons. And, if you need a little more help rounding out your network security in the new year, we are certainly here to help. Give us a call.