It’s officially November, which can only mean two things: your blood content is now 58% pumpkin spice; 17% whatever the heck eggnog is, and “All I Want For Christmas” has already wriggled its way into the deepest recesses of your psyche like the impossible ear worm it is. Joy to the world. Less in the spirit of good holiday cheer is that the year’s end is rapidly approaching, giving you only weeks to figure out where you misfiled the IT Resolution Checklist you made for your business way back when. You remember the one, right?
Wait… you do remember, don’t you? We sat right here and talked about it with you. There was a whole article! You had on that sweater with the thing, and– look, the circumstances are neither here nor there. What’s important is that you did all the things on the checklist.
But in case you didn’t, here’s that list again… with a few new add-in items for good measure.
- Establish a company password policy. Is it up to standards?
One of the biggest priorities of any business must be security, and a most crucial element of that is developing an effective password policy. Your data is the beating heart of your company, and the best way to safeguard it is to start internally. By developing password policies that are human-friendly first, a business can empower its employees to craft passwords that will stand up to even the most stubborn of hackers.
- Consider security policies for travel. How are you keeping your data and employees safe when traveling?
Corporate travel is a huge part of how companies conduct business, and as technology has become increasingly integrated into our work lives, we’ve had to bring it along for the ride. We don’t think twice about traveling with our phones or our laptops, but with company devices being veritable treasure troves of sensitive data, we really should be. A sensible corporate travel policy takes information technology and security into account, so that your data can be just as secure at home as it is abroad.
- Review server hardware and software. Are you running Windows Server 2008?
If you’re still running Windows Server 2008, the time to act is now. On January 14, 2020, Windows Server 2008 will reach end of life, meaning you have mere months to upgrade or move your business to the cloud. Everything has a life cycle, including software. End of life is when developer creases all support for the product, meaning they will no longer release updates or security patches, leaving your business vulnerable to hackers. Don’t delay!
- Don’t overlook website maintenance. Do you have a plan?
Despite the fact that we visit dozens (if not hundreds) of websites each day, we never really think about what it takes to keep them running. We only start to worry when they don’t. The health of your website deserves to be more than an afterthought. Remember, it’s the best marketing tool you have! Take the time to give your website the love and care of deserve by developing a robust website maintenance plan with JNT TEK. You owe it to yourself, your customers, and your future growth!
- Review Documentation- Is it up to date?
Document everything. If you’re not hewing to that new-age adage, you’ll want to reconsider. Documentation is vitally important, especially where information technology is concerned. They’re the policies that your employees are following, the reasoning why rationale for why things are done as they are done, and the signposts guiding your way when people are uncertain.
Documentation makes for consistency in work (and your expectations of that work), but consistency also makes for good documentation. That’s why you should make sure you are periodically reviewing everything to ensure they don’t show outdated policies.
So what should you be reviewing? The list is long, and might differ from company to company, but some good places to start include anything pertaining to onboarding and offboarding procedures, new user setups, a bring your own device/kit rental policy (if anything), password guidelines, vendor contracts, and website maintenance policies.
- Inventory workstations. Are you still using Windows 7?
One of the biggest issues that companies with large inventories face is outdated workstations, but even more pressing right now is whether you’re still running Windows 7 on that dinosaur. Just like Windows Server 2008, the end is life date for Windows 7 is rapidly approaching. In fact, they share the same date of January 14, 2020, giving you weeks to get your machines upgraded so that you’re not left out in the cold. Don’t give hackers the one thing what they want for Chrismahanukwanzakah this year: an unnecessarily vulnerable OS.
- Develop IT Lifecycle Management Strategy. What’s my plan?
Is a service contract out of date? Is your operating system reaching end of life? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you risk a lapse in technology, which would prove to be a major setback for your company. Keeping on top of your IT assets with a well-thought out lifecycle management strategy will mean you never miss a step.
- Design a disaster recovery plan. What happens to my data if the worst should happen?
It’s the phone call no business owner wants to get. Catastrophe has struck. A giant Kaiju monster has attacked the city block your company is located on, and now a Chevy Impala is embedded in your 5th floor server room. What’s a CEO to do? Short of acquiring a time machine: plan ahead for disaster, and make sure your business data is backed up to the cloud. When it comes to the beating heart of your company, data redundancy is a good thing.
- Perform a software assessment. Is your software still meeting your business needs?
Business software doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s just one of the many elements that comprise your wider technology ecosystem, meaning it needs to play well with others. It’s one of the reasons why we advocate for position of treating for treating your technology like a colleague. This means assessing not just its performance, but the relationship between it and your workers, and the other technologies it might integrate with. Compatibility issues decrease efficiency, hurting your bottom line, but even worse is software that just isn’t meeting your needs anymore. Sometimes the technology you thought you needed isn’t the right fit after all. There’s no shame in pivoting as your business grows and evolves.
- Mobile Device Management. How do I manage my data in a mobile world?
For the businessperson on the go, mobile devices were a revelation. With the whole world in the palm of their hands, workers are able to stay on top of projects even when they aren’t in the office. The downside is that all of your company’s internal information could be accidentally left behind in a coffee shop on Sunset Boulevard. Smart Mobile Device Management means taking a holistic approach to data security, to make sure your data never falls into the wrong hands.
Say “Yes!” to Your Future
The end of another year is a time for celebration. It’s an acknowledgement of where we’ve been, and what’s next to come — the great, big, beautiful unknown. Uncertainty can be a wonderful thing; exciting, even. Just think, it’s the crux of every great movie. But when it comes to the health of your business’ IT ecosystem, you don’t want uncertainty. You want confidence, peace of mind, and security.
Who you want is JNT TEK.
One of the ideas we live by is that information technology isn’t one size fits all. Every business has its own unique computing needs. It’s why we work so closely with our clients to design and implement solutions that fit their individual needs and goals — what they see for themselves this year, and many years down the line.
To identify these needs, it’s often helpful to ask yourself a few questions about your organization’s present IT strategy. Don’t have an IT strategy? There is no better time than now to develop one.
Get that your IT resolution checklist started with JNT TEK.