In IT Management, Managed Services, Technology Audit

ist2_12135785-it-guy[1]I know your IT guys are really nice. And they really do try to drink less than five cups of your coffee every morning when onsite. But let’s pretend that in some parallel universe your IT guys just maybe cut a few corners. What might those corners be?

1.  They skipped the easy stuff. Relate this to your car – you change the oil, the spark plugs and the fluids in hope that your engine won’t blow up at 60k. It’s the same with your network. Some IT people overlook things like Microsoft Windows updates (hard to believe, I know). Last month we signed a new client with 50 workstations and 3 servers whose Windows updates were over two years old! When we came in, the first thing we did was apply the updates. It solved a few compatibility issues they were having and also sealed some enormous security gaps.

2.  They assumed your ISP’s firewall would work fine. Are you using your Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) firewall? Or perhaps you were thinking that the router was the firewall? Either way, if you’re using the ISP’s equipment, it’s likely you’re driving a car with no airbags, seatbelts or brakes. Sure it drives, but it’s not exactly an IIHS top safety pick. First, you need a firewall (different than a router). Second, your firewall needs to be able to monitor and filter content, scan for malware and viruses and offer several levels of security. Your ISP’s firewall is as cheap as the ISP can get away with without being criminally negligent or at least civilly liable.

3.  They thought cutting costs would make you happy. And it does. But some things you just can’t cut corners on. If you’re running AVG-Free or MSE as your primary antivirus please stop reading this and call someone. Call your support team – call the President – call someone somewhere and get it fixed now. I’ve seen this in firms large and small, but regardless of your size, it’s always a huge mistake. Free software is free for a reason. And not so fast! If you’re using McAffe Home Edition you’re guilty too. You need professional, enterprise quality antivirus regardless if you’re a sole practitioner or a 1000-attorney law firm.

4.  They forgot to backup the most important things. Everyone is performing some kind of data-backup. But, as I found out a few months ago, not everyone knows that some backup programs such as Backup-Exec require a SQL agent and an Exchange agent in order to back up all your email, contacts, cases and financials. And if you don’t have those backed up then you might as well not bother backing anything up at all.

5.  Most problems can be fixed before you even call them. It’s Monday morning and your coffee is getting cold because you’re busy trying to figure out why going to WSJ.com is causing your browser to crash. Luckily enough you know the fix is as simple as START MENU / RESTART. It’s like magic. The first thing my network engineers told me when I started here was to restart my computer before I ever called them. And to think I thought they hated me…

So, did your IT guys or gals make the cut? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying every IT person out there is corner-cutting or incompetent. But, I’ve seen each of these mistakes at least once in the last year. What mistakes have you seen recently? Is anything suspect? Leave it here and we can talk about what’s standard practice and what’s not being practiced at all.

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