Ghosts, goblins and monsters aren’t the only scary things that can cause nightmares- especially when you work in the world of IT. Here we take 5 terrifying IT problems that can happen to any business, and give our advice so hopefully, you’ll never have to go through one of these scary experiences!
What happened: The latest “security exploit of the month” brings your business to its knees when an employee downloads and opens a file which contains a security risk that uses exploit, causing an infection of that system and others on your network.
Our advice: Unfortunately, this is really common. The CryptoLocker virus and it’s ransomware variants have wreaked havoc among both small and large companies. With any security issues we like to practice what we call “see something, say something”. One of the best things you can do if you think you have a virus is raise your hand and let your IT department or service company know. Time is of the essence with these types of viruses because the longer it goes undealt with the more damage it can cause. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
There is no single silver bullet when it comes to security. We recommend taking a security in layers approach. User education, properly configured firewall, good backups, applying available security updates and ensuring you have a quality anti-virus program that is regularly updated are all important in trying to avoid the above disaster.
What happened: In this general example of “Key Man Syndrome”, a key IT team member leaves the company on good terms, but the remaining support staff lacks the experience needed to suitably replace that one person’s capabilities. This “hostage” situation leaves your company in a costly position because without that tech support/knowledge, you have to halt work.
Our advice: We had to learn this lesson the hard way. In the past, MyITpros used to assign a client to a specific technician. When this technician got sick, went on vacation or decided to move away the client (and MyITpros) were left high and dry. Since then we have learned to always use a team approach when it comes to client management. We always try to avoid a single point of failure in customer service. For that matter, this applies to almost all network issues. Building redundancy in as many areas as possible will always reduce your downtime in almost any business.
What happened: You recently shifted all of your business-critical servers and applications to a cloud computing platform. Two weeks later none of your business applications work because your service provider is experiencing an unplanned outage.
Our advice: This is a really frustrating experience and there is almost nothing to do until the partner’s systems come back up. The key to avoiding this situation is picking your partners very carefully. Here are three tips when choosing a cloud partner:
- Talk to existing customers and get references
- Really look at the SLA (service level agreement) being offered
- Understand what the communication looks like when issues do arise
No company or platform will ever offer 100% uptime, which means occasional unexpected events will occur. It’s really important to understand what kind of communication will occur when the event happens and if they will be transparent and own the issue.
What happened: While on a sales meeting with a potential client, an engineer made an alarming discovery: The server room also housed the company’s hot water heater. On the spot, the engineer insisted on making a tape backup. As [bad] luck would have it, the following weekend, disaster struck for the company. The hot water heater in the server room broke, flooding the entire room. Fortunately, the company was able to restore the data because of that tape.”
Our advice: We actually had a similar situation occur. We had a client’s server room located underneath an air-conditioning unit on the floor above. So, even though this client was on the 14th floor of a building, they were still susceptible to a flood. One day a leak from the floor above came directly down on to their server rack- bringing down their entire network. We had to recover their entire infrastructure from backups (which we did have) but it was still a painful process. The lessons are to always have a backup. Chances are that you will never have a natural disaster but hardware failure and human error are the most common mishaps that cause IT disasters. No matter how secure you think your infrastructure and data are, backup, backup, backup.
What happened: The editorial and design staff of tech-centric business 2.0 somehow managed to lose its entire issue to a hard-drive failure on its editorial server. While the business 2.0 IT staff did the backup part, what they never seemed to do was the restore part, as a test to make sure the backups were readable and that they worked. And that’s exactly what failed when the admins tried to recover from the catastrophic crash. As for the editorial content of the issue, it turned out that the lawyers had copies of every article in a final, copy-edited state. But the layout and design of the magazine had to be re-created from scratch.
Our advice: Having a backup in place is a great step in protecting your data, but the only good backup is a tested one. If your backups are not being actively monitored, managed and tested, you are likely to have disappointing experience when it comes to the recovery process. A lot of backup solutions only focus on the backup part. We really recommend spending an equal amount of time and energy on the recovery part because this becomes critical when you really need to get your business going again after a disaster.
The purpose of the blog is to answer the questions you ask! If you’re afraid one of these horror stories might happen to you, contact us! The more terrifying the problem, the better! For more information around business security, check out our infographic (it’s downloadable and free)!