Expect the Unexpected V – Technological Risks
To Our Valued Clients and Friends:
This email is the Fifth in our series on preparing your business to weather the unexpected events that we know will occur. Read Parts I-IV here, here, here, and here. This week, we discuss businesses’ technological risks.
Businesses rely increasingly on technology and automated systems; we expect our technology, hardware, and software, to work as designed and advertised. Unfortunately, software glitches occur, hardware breaks down, and often at the most inconvenient times.
And there’s worse, of course – we’ve all read about cases of identity theft and consumers’ fears their personal data is beyond their own control. High-profile data breaches have occurred at many prominent companies and even within several U.S. Government departments.
Technology gives us so much in our businesses and our private lives. Yet our reliance on it places us in a position of vulnerability – and it’s a relatively new vulnerability construct, not one that humans have been accustomed to protecting ourselves against for multiple decades.
Ironically, one of the best ways to prepare for an unexpected event impacting your business is to ensure that you and your team can work from anywhere, as long as a secure internet connection is present.
This makes it all the more crucial to protect your technological infrastructure, as well as sensitive data relevant to both your clients and your team.
Here are some ideas you may want to consider:
- Ensure that you keep your equipment up to date so that your servers, laptop, and desktop workstations don’t become obsolete.
- Update your software to make sure you have the most up-to-date version offered by the vendor.
- The best way to implement the two points above is to ensure that someone is responsible for maintaining your equipment and its security (firewalls, anti-virus, etc.), and keeping your software updated. This person can be your in-house IT specialist or an outside provider.
- Ensure that you have security protocols in place (firewalls, passwords, locked files/folders, who may access what) and that team members are thoroughly educated on these protocols.
- Make sure you are using software such as LastPass so that all your encrypted passwords are stored securely in one place.
- Make sure all data is backed up regularly and frequently (we recommend backing up on a daily basis – if this is not feasible, at least on a weekly basis); ensure backup data can be readily accessed if necessary.
- At least annually, hire someone to attempt to hack your system and restore your backups. A successful attempt will expose vulnerabilities, which can then be addressed, while an unsuccessful attempt means your systems are reasonably secure – for now.
It’s another irony that we make ourselves much more secure when we expect our tools may fail and prepare to counter that likelihood.
We recommend that, if you do not use an outside provider for your IT, you consult with one on how best to secure your equipment, software, and sensitive data.
To best prepare for the unexpected, consult your CPA on creating your response strategies.
Has your business experienced a data breach? If not, what strategies have you used to prevent one?
Please click here to email me directly – I’d love to hear how you protect your technological infrastructure.
Until next Wednesday –