The following ten technology tips are a solid foundation for having great technology at your company, protecting against common threats, and keeping people productive through the work day.
Lock things down
Administrative privileges give someone the ability to install software and make changes to important settings. Throughout a typical work day, this level of access is not needed and should be kept confidential. Also, certain files and folders should remain locked down to the specific users that need access to them. Physically secure servers and networking equipment as well. Providing guest WiFi also needs to be done in a secure fashion that should be segmented from access to your business network.
Educate your staff
More and more threats are targeted at your team, phishing for their private information, or spoofing an email from someone they know to again get information or worse, money or bank info, from them. It is imperative to educate them on possible situations so they are less likely to fall for these scams and provide ongoing education for new threats.
Use quality passwords
It should go without saying that weak passwords are like leaving your doors unlocked. For admin level passwords, rename the administrator accounts to something like “companyadmin”, then randomly generate a 16 character password with one of each of the following: lowercase, uppercase, number, and symbols. For user accounts, require at least an 8 character password with no dictionary words and have them set to expire every 3 months.
Purchase quality equipment
Business class technology costs more for a few reasons. It’s important to know the difference and not shop for workstations and equipment at the local big box store. Most big box store equipment is consumer grade, lower quality, less warranty, more bloated. Business class often provides 3 year or more warranty and also has better quality, higher reliability components.
Install a real firewall
A firewall is the first line of defense between your network and the outside world. Using a business class firewall with unified threat management costs more but provides many more layers of security than an off the shelf device. Web filtering provides safe guards against unsafe and inappropriate web sites and allows you to block potential time wasters like Facebook.
Standard images on workstations
Maintain a similar fleet of workstations including the required software and settings for your team to do their best work. This also simplifies moving, adding, or changing workstations around as needed.
Keep up to date
Using current and supported versions of software like Windows, Office, Adobe, and Java is crucial to the security and stability of your network. Leveraging up to date security products and services like web filtering, DNS filtering, anti-virus and anti-spam is critical to protect your network. You will also want to patch and update all of these various items on a weekly basis. Refreshing the hardware in the network every 3-5 years will also ensure stability and productivity. Technology is always changing.
Implement a backup and disaster recovery solution
Not all backups are created equal. For the majority of the time an “act of god” is not the reason you need to use your backups. More often, user error and/or virus issues create the need to restore files or servers. Review your backup solution carefully to ensure it provides the following features: image based backup, hourly snapshots, off-site storage, daily screenshot verification, and cloud server spare. Anything less will not cut it when the need arises – which is more often than you think.
Keep everything documented
Securely storing the administrator password, keeping a network map, and documenting common issues and guides.
Quality IT support
When you outsource your IT support to a trusted vendor, you can get all of the above and more for an ALL-inclusive monthly fee. On a daily basis, your staff will have some technology issues (it’s never perfect) and will want to have someone to contact to get their issue resolved quickly. Long term, you need a partner to help you navigate technology changes and the changes within your business.