Is It Time For An IT Reality Check?

August 30th, 2012

Your PC might be giving you a rebel yell.
Most business people I run into are very aware that their personal computers literally have a life of their own. Like kids wrestling for their independence, the older our technology gets the more prone it is to rebel which sometimes takes the form of a general decline in machine performance, increase in the frequency of crashes and frozen screens. That’s because your personal computer changes every single time that you go online, create new documents, import new files, open an email, install a new application, delete an old one, run a patch or a software update, or connect a new peripheral.

Even if you are running updated virus protection software and malware filters behind a solid internet firewall, you’re still going to need to give your personal computer a professional tune-up every so often to get it back into peak operating performance (similar to those sometimes painful teenage “reality checks” that seem to come with parenting turf). The recommended frequency of your tune-ups will vary depending on how active you are with your PC.

Your network needs love, too.
The very ideas that apply to your individual PC also hold true for your business network - except multiply the complexity of issues by the number and types of devices you have attached to it. Even the most basic network these days has a firewall, a server or two, a few desktops and laptops, some mobile devices, and probably a couple of different operating systems. Maybe you also have a wireless network, a network printer, VPN, Voiceover-IP (VoIP) phone system, automated back-ups, and a specialized app or two? If you consider how a single PC changes over time, think about all the “moving parts” that make up your entire network!

The bigger your network and the more users who are a part of it, the greater the likelihood that there are hidden issues lurking in the digital nooks and crannies where even seasoned IT pros may rarely look. Think about how many people you’ve granted access to your network over the years. Are there any legacy security privileges still part of your network configuration for people who no longer should have access? When’s the last time you checked whether anyone opened an unsecure port to the internet, exposing your company to potential attacks on your system or theft of proprietary data? How many devices have you added onto your network and decommissioned over the years? Are your network organizational settings mirroring your current organization?

Don’t neglect to face the facts.
There are dozens of critical security and productivity problems that invariably develop as a network grows and ages, and many small to medium-sized businesses have a hard time keeping up - and a harder time tracking down the issues. Every business that has a network, no matter how small or simple, should regularly run a simple network assessment scan – at least on a quarterly basis. A qualified network technician who will be able to analyze the results and quickly cure any deficiencies, vulnerabilities and improper network settings should perform the assessment.

Take us up on a SPOT Check.
The Fulcrum Group employs a new approach using technology that is designed specifically for this purpose. Our SPOT Check method allows us to uncover issues with a simple scan that usually takes less than 30 minutes at your facility.  Delving deeper into your network is a painless (and non-obligatory) procedure in which we use a non-invasive, rapid scan and run the results through our proprietary diagnostic software, which confidentially compares your system against industry benchmarks and best practices, and flags any potential risks to your organization. We analyze the results and generate a report that includes our recommendations based on the SPOT Check findings.

Getting a grip on your technology.
Security breaches and other business-disrupting incidents we hear about can be interpreted as red flags for business owners to regard seriously.  They signal the need for organizations of any size to acquire and maintain a tight grip on their technology.  As in life, letting too many things “slide” is often a path to disaster.  It’s the same with the technology we work hard to cultivate.  As business owners we aim to get and maintain that grip so our organizations can function at their highest availability.

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