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Technology risks to your business

Technology risks to your business: 5 ways to get ready

If you’re like many businesses, you don’t worry a lot about risks to your technology—until something bad happens. It could be a fire, a theft, a natural disaster, a crashed server or a computer virus. Then, the losses can be devastating. Technology risks to your business can be an hindrance to achieving your business strategic goals.

The right time to think about risks to your technology systems is now, before a crisis. A few simple steps will allow your company to continue running seamlessly, or at least minimize the costs of a major information technology problem.

“Too many businesses are completely unprepared and blindsided by an issue,” says BDC Consultant Domenico Iannuzzi, who advises entrepreneurs on technology.

Here are Iannuzzi’s tips on managing your IT risks.

1) Do proper backups—Backing up your data is one of the main things you can do to mitigate risks to your IT systems. You should be backing up your data to a remote location daily, so you never lose more than a day’s work in the event of an issue occurring.

“Unfortunately, many businesses don’t do proper backups,” Iannuzzi says. “Some do it once a week, others once a month, and some don’t do any at all.”

To be even more secure, you can set up your system so it stores information simultaneously on two servers located in different locations. If the main server has an issue, the backup server can seamlessly take over with no data loss and little impact on your business.

2) Adopt a security policy—Your company should have an IT security policy that covers such things as passwords, Internet use, downloading software, opening attachments, remote access, data retention, confidentiality of data and securing equipment outside the workplace.

You should make sure employees are aware of and follow the policy. Regular reminders and audits are a good way to ensure compliance. Also be sure your security policy and practices satisfy any digital security laws and standards that apply to your company. Regularly review and update your policy.

3) Create a recovery plan—What would you do if your office burned down or all your computers got stolen? Many entrepreneurs haven’t given it enough thought. A recovery plan can help you bounce back from such a calamity.

Document what you would do in various scenarios to get your business back in operation as quickly as possible. Make note of things like where you’d move your operations, where data backups are located and who would set up your new IT system.

4) Wipe old equipment—How do you dispose of old computers, mobile devices and data storage equipment? If you just throw them away, sensitive information could easily get into the wrong hands. Simply deleting data or formatting your hard disc isn’t enough. A computer savvy person can restore the information.

To clean old equipment, the safest options are physically destroying the hard drive, using disc-wiping software or hiring a computer expert to do the job.

5) Minimize physical losses—Think about precautions to minimize your risk of physical losses or damage to equipment due to theft, fire or water damage. Examples are installing fire and burglar alarms, using surge protection and not putting servers in a room with water pipes in the walls or ceiling. You should also make sure you have adequate business insurance.

Article published by BDC