Chances are high that your Information System - aka Computers, Servers, Network and Applications – are being managed by either a full time employee, an independent sub-contractor or outsourced to a managed service provider (MSP). Not being an expert, you have to trust that your IT “care giver” is keeping your systems safe, secure and stable. You probably have few opportunities to verify the quality, seriousness and general professionalism of the rendered services.
Unfortunately for many organizations, when it comes to managing increasingly complex IT architectures, what appears OK on the surface is not always the case. A “Checks and Balances” concept can be applied to your technology like for any other area of your organization. You might consider a Technology Assessment. This will either give you the “peace of mind” you need to focus on your business, or will keep you awake all night completely worried about what you just discovered. Either way, you have to know.
Some partners will perform assessments regularly for their clients as part of their service. (MotherG has adopted a Component Risk Assessment that is reviewed quarterly with clients to review risks and vulnerabilities, and align resolution strategies accordingly.) In other cases, you might want to look for a partner who can perform a separate assessment.
There are several key areas you should assess to give you the reassurance that your technology is safe, stable, and secure:
1. What is my current exposure to common risks and their impacts on my business?
- - Security risks (malware & intrusion, tablets, etc.)
- - Outage & Downtime risks (Aging hardware & software, telecom circuits, network, etc.)
2. What kind of data protection measures are currently in place and do they work?
- - Backup & Disaster Recovery plans. Can you recover and how fast?
3. How is my IT environment currently maintained?
- - What is being done in terms of preventative maintenance & monitoring?
- - How proactive is my support versus reactive to problems?
4. Are there Strategic Technology initiatives to improve business performance?
- - Any cost reduction strategies (reduce complexity and run rate costs, etc.)?
- - What is your Technology Road map for the next 1 to 3 years?
5. Overall Scorecard of your Information System
- - A plain-english explanation of technical and operational risks derived from the assessment.
- - An action plan on top priorities to be addressed.
Do not postpone the inevitable quest for the truth about your IT environment. Organizations have too many other challenges to face and should not live with the constant fear or erroneous perception that the technology they rely on is properly deployed, monitored and maintained.