The title

Category: Virtual IT Director

How Do You Protect Your “Crown Jewels”?

We have worked with business owners and senior management of organizations with less that 200 staff for over 20 years.

We continually see the same recurring issues when it comes to IT management in SMEs.

One of issue that we find quite disturbing is the cavalier attitude so many small business owners take with regard to the security of their IT assets.

This is especially significant with regard to security of their own data and even more critically the security of their clients’ data that is held on their systems.

A recent survey quoted a senior manager in a professional services firm as saying:

“At the moment internally we don’t really have much [internal] security. Our systems are open; Just about everyone in the office can actually look at anything in the system.”


The issues

 

  • Threats to IT information assets come from many sources – malware, hardware failure, hacking, employee mistake and deliberate sabotage. How do you know that you are protected?
  • How do you ensure that you have current and continual protection across all fronts to ensure your data is not lost or compromised?
  • How do you ensure that organisational information assets are NOT stored on only one key staff member’s laptop, but are stored centrally for all users to access, AND properly backed up and recoverable?

Critical Questions

 

  • How long can your business survive without key data?

Imagine losing important customer files and trying to explain to your clients how this happened. If your immediate response to this question is to say: “But we back up our data regularly!” –  sure you may have a back up strategy but do you regularly test your strategy to ensure that you are 100% sure you are able to recover your data in the event of a major disaster or loss? [Statistics show that 60% of backups are incomplete, and 50% of restores failed.]

  • How do you protect your commercially sensitive data?
  • How do you protect client data held on your computers?
  • What level of security assessment do you undertake on any third-party you bring into your company to undertake IT support and maintenance?

You do realise that every third party who has access to your IT systems potentially has access to all of your secrets?


The Business Impacts and Your Exposures

 

Unless you can answer each of these questions you and your business are at considerable, and potentially catastrophic, risk of business failure and expensive, damaging litigation.

The solution is a consistent, holistic strategy and implementation to protect your business across all of these areas.

If you are unclear about this and what it means for your business, please get in touch. Since inception in 1996, PASR Technologies has been providing SME business owners with a level of service and support to the SME business owner that is typically only directly available in very large organisations.

Servicing businesses from 10 to up to 200 employees, our clients range from local SMEs through to regional offices of larger MNCs, and include airlines.

At PASR Technologies, we solve your IT problems before you even realize you have one!


How Do You Know You Can Recover Your Data?

In our work with business owners and senior management of organizations with less that 200 staff  we regularly come across the same, repeated concerns facing SME IT management. One of the big recurring issues is data recovery from backups.

IT management in SMEs tends to be undertaken by staff who are fulfilling dual roles with IT management as a secondary responsibility to their primary functional role. This is illustrated in a recent study which investigated IT in SMEs quotes a senior manager of an accounting practice:

“It is left to me [as a senior partner] on a day-to-day basis. I am the only one who does backups”.

The challenge here is how a lack of knowledge of best practise can inadvertently put the business at great risk.


The issue

 

Statistics show that 60% of backups are incomplete, and 50% of restores failed.

You may have a back up strategy but  because you do NOT regularly test your strategy you can not be 100% sure you are able to recover your data in the event of a major disaster or loss.

Whilst having a backup strategy is a good first-step, your failure to regularly test your recovery strategy leaves you massively exposed on recovering your business critical data in the event of a crunch.


How long can your business survive without key data?

 

We are asked many times about how and what is required for backup. There are many ways to approach this, and many solutions, but the real factors are not how and what to backup, but rather how long an organisation can operate without their data while it is being restored.

Backups today are generally performed online, with little or no downtime required, but this is not true when it comes to restoring data, which almost always requires systems to be taken offline during the process.

Consider also that depending on the reason a restore is required, new hardware/software may have to be acquired and configured as part of the recovery process.


Key questions

 

When choosing a backup strategy, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How long can I afford to be offline if I have to recover data – worst case scenario
    • As this time decreases, costs to implement a viable solution increase exponentially, so choose something realistic.
  • What is my backup protecting me from?
    • Hardware failure is a primary candidate, but don’t forget the possibilities of malware infection, employee acts – both accidental and malicious.
  • What legal/regulatory requirements are there for data retention?
    • Do I just need to recover to the last known good data, or do I need multiple generations spanning weeks, months or years?

Please note the following statistics

 

In considering your answers to the above, please remember:

  • 6% of all PCs will suffer an episode of data loss in any given year (The Cost Of Lost Data, David M. Smith)
  • 60% of companies that lose their data will shut down within 6 months of the disaster
  • Almost 3 out of every 100 hard drives fail every year. (Schroeder and Garth)
  • Man-made disasters affect 10% of small businesses. (NFIB National Small Business Poll)
  • 20% of SMEs will suffer a major disaster causing loss of critical data every 5 years. (Richmond House Group)
  • Simple drive recovery can cost upwards of S$2,000 and success is not guaranteed

If you would like to discuss this issue and what it means for your business, please get in touch. Since inception in 1996, PASR Technologies has been providing SME business owners with a level of service and support to the SME business owner that is typically only directly available in very large organisations.

Servicing businesses from 10 to up to 200 employees, our clients range from local SMEs through to regional offices of larger MNCs, and include airlines.

At PASR Technologies, we solve your IT problems before you even realize you have one!

Is Your IT An Investment Or An Expense?

In the course of our work with business owners and senior management of organizations with less that 200 staff we see many recurring issues.  We have been this doing since 1996 and over this time the same challenges continue to crop up. A common theme is this:

“We know that as an SME we need to use every resource available, and we also know that IT can be a key enabler in business development and productivity – but we don’t know how to do it….”


Critical Questions

 

  • How do we ensure that we are making the most of our IT?
  • How do we choose a technology direction and platform to support our core business direction?
  • How do we know what needs to be upgraded or replaced? [AND where and when?]
  • How do we ensure that our expenditure on IT is an investment and not just an expense?
  • How do we maximise our ROI in IT?

The Fundamental Issue

 

Because SMEs are too small to be able to afford a full-time IT Director the business owners do not have the knowledge and understanding of expected technology life cycles to devise and execute an informed strategy they are unable to make informed choices and decisions about upgrades and replacements.

The consequence of this is that they are exposed to the core business impacts of software and hardware failures. This is a major risk and exposure to their core business.


Virtual IT Director – the PASR solution

 

Business owners of companies with under 200 staff do not have access/budget to have an IT Director. We provide this as a virtual/part-time service giving the business owner appropriate advice for their business situation. If you would like to discuss this and what it could mean for your business, please get in touch.

Since inception in 1996, PASR Technologies has been providing SME business owners with a level of service and support to the SME business owner that is typically only directly available in very large organisations.

Servicing businesses from 10 to up to 200 employees, our clients range from local SMEs through to regional offices of larger MNCs, and include airlines.

At PASR Technologies, we solve your IT problems before you even realize you have one!

 

The True Cost Of “One-Off” IT Support

To many small business owners it may seem perfectly logical to bring in an IT support specialist as and when you have an identified need. But the reality is that the one-off approach to IT support issues leaves many holes and doubts and it can prove expensive.

We work with business owners and senior management of organizations with less that 200 staff providing a one-stop shop for all their IT infrastructure needs. We have been doing since 1996. Over this time we regularly come across the same, repeated concerns facing SME management. Regardless of business sector, the same challenges continue to crop up.  One of the big recurring issues is to do with the cost – the true cost – of one-off IT support.


“We don’t know what we don’t know…”

 

This issue of the true cost of one-off support falls into the “we don’t know what we don’t know” category.

For many owners of small businesses, dealing with IT support and maintenance is  the same as dealing with car maintenance. In other words, it’s OK with the “known knowns” e.g. a printer isn’t working/a tire is flat, BUT how do you deal with the “unknown unknowns”? How do you deal with the problems that I don’t know about, like security, malware protection, data leakage?


A lack of consistency leads to cost in-efficiency

 

Over reliance on “one-off” support can expensive. Here is a typical scenario:  You have a problem, for example User A can’t print, so you get external technical support to come in and fix it. They update the printer software and get User A printing and leave. BUT, the very next day, Users B & C can’t print either, so you call the IT support people back in again for yet another fix ….AND yet another fee!

The business impact of your over-reliance on one-off support means that you do not have the consistency and cost efficiency of a centralised and holistic approach that would instead install printers centrally, and roll out appropriate changes and updates to all users via a centralised policy.

Two further examples of how the small business owner’s lack of knowledge is a big exposure for the business:

[1] You bring in external IT support to solve a problem and yet they break other components…and you have know way of knowing.

[2] You can’t determine whether quotes to repair/upgrade are valid, realistic and appropriate.


If you would like to discuss this issue and what it means for your business, please get in touch. Since inception in 1996, PASR Technologies has been providing SME business owners with a level of service and support to the SME business owner that is typically only directly available in very large organisations.

Servicing businesses from 10 to up to 200 employees, our clients range from local SMEs through to regional offices of larger MNCs, and include airlines.

At PASR Technologies, we solve your IT problems before you even realize you have one!

 

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