Hey! We’re running a special on our comprehensive Service and Support packages through the end of 2016! I’ll tell you more about that at the end of this post.
Do you have a plan?
When we start working with new clients, we see some common problems over and over. Someone starts a business, and things are running fine for some time. Money may be tight or things just may be simple enough to keep everything running smoothly. Then something happens that changes everything. An increase in business triggers the need for change. The person internally that had handled the “simple” things doesn’t have time anymore to handle some of the issues that are turning into major hurdles. Or maybe a firm was used that you called in when things stopped working, but now it seems that everything has stopped working all at once. Worse is when there’s an in-house engineer or engineering team that’s expected to manage tech when that’s at the bottom of their list of priorities.
Planning and Small Business
One of the biggest issues facing small business is the lack of technology planning. As the landscape all companies “play in” changes every day, you can either utilize tech effectively to gain a competitive advantage, or you can just play it safe and use outdated methodologies that serve an obsolete business model. Having a team of technologists on your side to watch what’s changing and make strategic recommendations can be an absolute game changer in your business. Most companies just want to make it through right now to get to the next thing, and being able to step back and regularly plan for what’s next isn’t a big priority.
How Planning “Saved” a Client
Let me explain how technology planning helped a non-profit client of ours. In the Spring or 2016, this client came to us with a unique challenge. There was a possibility of frivolous legal action against the organization, and former employees had recently been approached by private investigators.
State of Panick!
The leaders were panicking, and we received requests to immediately change the WiFi passwords and access structure across multiple locations. We could simply change all of the passwords, but we would have to do this anytime someone left the organization. With potential shifts in org structure, this could leave the client open in a big way. We needed something a little more comprehensive, especially since we knew that a corporation with deep pockets might do whatever it took to breach our client’s network.
How will we pay for this?
Non-profits don’t always have the cash to spend on the latest and greatest tech, so every dollar counts and must be stretched as far as it can go. This isn’t unique to non-profits, but it can be more challenging to justify any costing that is outside of your annual budget. We did have an annual budget in place, but we didn’t have much wiggle room to justify major overages.
Luckily, we had a plan in place, working on critical infrastructure replacements and hardware refreshes over a period of a few years. We had a few pieces of key equipment already in place across the three locations. Of seven pieces of hardware required to put an ideal solution in place, we were just missing one device that was on-track to be replaced in 2017. We had budgeted for a license renewal for 2016, but not a full replacement. Still, mitigating the risk of data loss or intrusion was worth the roughly $1K difference in cost.
Loving when a good plan comes together.
Today, the organization is running Next Generation Firewalls across three locations, providing secure VPN access for traveling users with multi-factor authentication for added security. We’re also running WiFi that provides each user with their own login and password to the network (WPA2-Enterprise). Instead of using one password for the WiFi network, each user has their own individual password to the network. If a user leaves or is terminated, we can shut down just that user’s access to the network. This “one password” is also used for the internal file storage that all sites have access to via the site-to-site VPN.
Now, our client can rest easy that former employees have no access to organizational resources. Any passwords they may still have are now obsolete. If we have an employee that leaves the organization, part of Tech Officers’ offboarding process is to deactivate that user’s access to the network, preventing access to any data within the organization. It all started with a plan that was developed over two years ago, and we’re continuing to deliver against and revise this plan for future cost savings.
What’s your plan?
Do you have a plan for your technology? Do you have a central place for all of your information? Do you have a team that you trust to keep your tech running in the middle of the night?
End of 2016 Deal
Now on to our End of 2016 Deal! By registering here, you can get up to two months of service for free! Hurry, because time IS running out. The deal changes as of November 1st, and registering will let you take advantage of the best pricing we’ve ever offered off of our standard packages.
Until next time, have a FANTASTIC week!