Possibly the highest return on investment you can receive

We all invest in software for the large benefits of improved efficiency, accuracy, convenience, quality of life, scalability, communication and more.

Yet reliance on technology comes with some unavoidable risk, as AIS experienced firsthand recently when we spent five days recovering two systems after a ransomware attack.

It can happen to all of us. Here’s a recent story about a 300,000-employee IT services company that experienced a devastating attack. IT Services Giant Cognizant Attached by ‘Maze’ Ransomware.

Computer viruses, hackers, hard disk failures, natural disasters like fire and flood, theft. Business disruption costs can be enormous, or in some cases put a company out of business.

Here’s how you can greatly reduce the harm and the cost incurred by business disruption

Schedule a recurring process to recheck, test, and improve your security systems and habits. Consider including this topic in quarterly team meetings to identify new risks and report on current processes. Ask:

➤ 1. Are you doing automated backups? Are they actually happening—have you checked lately? Are the latest backup files in working order, not corrupt—have you tested? Are backups stored off premises, completely disconnected from any software that’s connected to what’s being backed up? Is your staff taking time to back up the system before major data edits, period-end closings, hardware upgrades and software updates?

➤ 2. Have you gone over the latest phishing attack methods to educate your staff? Phishing emails are extra-tough to avoid, because many these days truly appear to be legitimate emails.

➤ 3. Have you audited recent changes and software additions to your system, to assess whether these have opened up a less-secure new entry point for hackers? This is the issue that led to the ransomware attack we just dealt with. A third-party add-on had an insecure entry point that bypassed the system’s two-factor-authentication security layers.

➤ 4. Do you routinely keep all your software current to ensure you’re running the latest security patches from the manufacturers?

➤ 5. Are there any critical files for your business, such as key spreadsheets, that exist only on one employee’s computer, not included in your automated backups?

➤ 6. Have you reviewed user accounts and cleaned up the list of users that have access to your key systems ? It’s an area sure to reveal surprises if it hasn’t been checked in awhile.

➤ 7. Have you checked for newly available security features in your software, such as firewalls or automated alerts of potential malicious activities like midnight logins from a country you don’t operate in?

➤ 8. Do you have a plan in place that will allow you to run your business remotely if your office space, warehouse or plant becomes inaccessible due to blizzard, tornado, fire, protest, riot or pandemic? Have you done a dry run lately to test that plan, running parts of your business remotely?

Once you’re in the good habit of reviewing and tightening your security and protections, it doesn’t take long to do. That attention will save you enormous amounts of lost time, data, customer goodwill, money, and more.

We believe it’s the technology management step you can take that will deliver the highest return on investment of all.

Please reach out if you’d like any assistance in assessing your software and processes.