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5 Sentences Your In-house IT Department Should Never Say

If you are a small business chances are you have been battling on your own with the challenges that computers have thrown at you. As a mid-sized company, you may be experiencing the growing pains that come with additional equipment and licenses. There are many challenges for SME’s, but having your own in-house IT department is rarely cost effective.

Here at Signal Networks, we use our collective knowledge and work as a team to ensure your IT requirements are in safe hands. With many years of experience in all areas of information technology, inclusive of servers, networking, storage management, architecture design and solutions, we can assist you with any of your end to end IT requirements.

5 Sentences Your In-house IT Department Should Never Say

The following problems and sentences are a collection of situations and phrases we have been told about, which often indicate warning signs. These indications can often highlight potentially major weaknesses within your infrastructure, albeit with a touch of tongue and cheek.

1.     “What backups?”

Can your company cope if its payroll and balance sheets are lost? Without proper backup contingencies in place, the loss of data can corrupt an entire business overnight. With a steadfast plan, it’s not unreasonable for a small company to have a highly effective backup system.

Sometimes, the hardware itself is not always as important as the methods in which you store and retain the information- for example, a company can have the latest and greatest Tape Library with the biggest tapes available on the market, but, if they’re stored in the same room as the backup server and there is a fire in there everything will be lost in one sweep.

what backups- 5 Sentences Your In-house IT Department Should Never Say

Questions to ask your in-house IT department?

  1. Question: What happens if my local file gets corrupted?
    Answer should be: I have a local backup
  2. Question: There was a fire in the server room or the HDD has failed. Where is the backup now?
    Answer should be: I have a Tape/USB backup in a fire-proof cabinet in another room in the office or offsite.
  3. The office has suffered intense theft/flood/fire/earthquake damage. Where are the backups?
    Answer should be: There are copies hosted off site in a remote location.

2.    “It only said it was a warning… I didn’t think it would be critical”

Many days an in-house IT system administrator will walk into the office, sit down, open their email and wait for the countless emails to propagate in their mailbox from activities that have happened overnight. These emails are often about backup successes and failures that reboot to install updates which can cause a string of alarms and countless repeated error emails that come through daily. We’ve seen many cases where in-house IT departments receive these emails, glance at them and then file them in the digital equivalent of the cylindrical filing cabinet (a.k.a the bin).

Email alerts are a regular feature in almost every application and at Signal Networks, we believe it’s an extremely useful tool to have at your disposal so why waste it? However, should your in-house IT department not act upon them accordingly, you can expect things to go severely wrong in the long term. These emails may not be critical now, but they should be checked all the same to validate them before a larger issue occurs.

it was only a warning- 5 Sentences Your In-house IT Department Should Never Say

Questions to ask your in-house IT department?

  1. Is there a process flow for when these mails are received?
  2. Is there an immediate process to validate the severity?
  3. How much time can be set aside to monitor this?
  4. Does anyone actually receive these emails?

3.    “So where is the password for it?”

It was never needed before but now something’s gone wrong and access is needed to a live system. The trouble is, no one knows the password as it was set up by a team member who’s since left the company. Whilst there are password recovery measures in place for a lot of software releases, it’s better to reduce the risk of having to rebuild the entire device and losing everything previously completed to back it up. Every single password needs to be stored safe and securely with protection measures in place should they be required urgently.

where is the password- 5 Sentences Your In-house IT Department Should Never Say

Questions to ask your in-house IT department?

  1. If ‘X’ was to go down, do we have the administration password for it?
  2. Do we have a safe way of storing all these separate passwords like a password safe?
  3. In the event that someone leaves the company, can someone else operate this program?

4.    “Oops… a virus got in… make that two… now five… oh dear….”

Constant end point checks are critical to restrain the dark side of the internet infecting your machine or worse, your network. Installing an anti-virus application is a good start but it’s unfortunately not enough in the current market and will only last until the next patch is made available. IT departments need to be able to confirm that end users are indeed updating the latest patches, even if it’s forcibly applied through scheduled or manual updates.

With forward movement in edge security, the box that was once just a router can now do many things. Some next generation firewalls (NGF) can even offer services which automatically scan inbound traffic for malware providing your organisation with additional protection to your end users.

got a virus- 5 Sentences Your In-house IT Department Should Never Say

Questions to ask your in-house IT department?

  1. Do our end points have adequate and suitable local anti-virus?
  2. Do the end users update it on their own?
  3. Can IT confirm that it has been updated without having to log onto every asset individually?
  4. Could the company benefit from additional security at the edge of the network?

5.    “Just leave it open for now, we might need it later”

Years ago an application was used within the company that needed ports opened up on the firewall, but has anyone used that application since then? Is that IP inbound link still required to be held open for that company your organisation no longer works with? Why are there even two rules for the same protocol inbound to the same IP? These are questions your in-house IT department should be constantly asking.

At Signal Networks, we’ve noticed that network auditing is often overlooked by in-house IT departments especially when they find themselves chasing break fix tickets, trying to get hold of end users who are busy away from their desks, or chasing leads for that spare part needed to fix said issue.

More often than not, in many small and medium businesses, this never gets seen to, however it should be common practice to frequently audit firewall policies like we do with all of our clients.

leave it open- 5 Sentences Your In-house IT Department Should Never Say

Questions to ask your in-house IT department?

  1. When was the last time someone viewed the firewall rules (without adding something)?
  2. Are there any firewall overlays (where two firewall rules are completing the same action)?
  3. Can time be scheduled to check this once every couple of months?

 

If you find your in-house IT department struggling with any of these issues or you require any further advice, contact Signal Networks today where our certified engineers can discuss your requirements. We’re happy to work alongside in-house IT department and advise what steps could be taken to prevent an IT security related breach, as well as acting as a company’s IT support provider.

 

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