Due to an onslaught of bad IT news and even worse events, the past year is one that many firms and technology users will be happy to put in their rearview mirrors. (Here at Carmichael, we are proud to say that we are not one of them.) Even so, we shouldn’t let the news cycle distract us from our most important year-end task — an IT Housekeeping “Health Check.” In fact, a health check — with appropriate follow up and remediation if anything is amiss — is precisely what companies should do to keep their IT systems healthy and secure in 2020.
Here’s our list — if there are additional “favorite” technology routines you follow, we would love to hear about them.
- Personnel Offboarding: Ensure employees/contractors that no longer work with the firm are off your systems, have no network access and have returned all devices. If you haven’t yet wiped those devices or changed passwords you shared with them, we urge you to do that immediately. Departed employees can pose a significant threat if you don’t ensure they are completely disconnected from your firm and its systems.
- Data Backup: Test your data backups and systems and perform a test restore.
- Best Practices: Confirm all personnel are using sound IT practices, from never connecting to public Wi-Fi on company-issued devices to changing their passwords frequently. If any are not, consider hosting a brief “IT reminder” session for them. To prevent the meeting from appearing threatening, make it a group activity, perhaps over an office lunch.
- Network Checks: Run network checks to ensure only authorized devices are connecting to the network.
- Policy update: Review all your IT policies, from mobile devices to personal computer use, and update if appropriate. If any worker-focused policies change, communicate them to personnel promptly and in writing. Ask them to sign the document, thereby acknowledging receipt.
- Software Licensing: Ensure your licenses are up to date and note any upgrades or fee increases that will impact you in 2020.
In addition, the year’s end is a great time to consider transitioning to cloud-based solutions, from backups to productivity software like Office 365. Working in the cloud requires little more than a computing device and a fast Internet connection. Yet, it is proven to increase productivity and reduce IT complexity. It also converts your IT expenses from CapEx to OpEx, which gives you a recurring fee to deduct from your taxes. We call that the gift that keeps on giving.
If this list seems overwhelming or you are already aware of potential issues or vulnerabilities within your systems, give us a call. We offer a complimentary, over-the-phone health check. It will either put you at ease or give you a path forward to ensuring 2020 is very bright.