In 2023 and beyond, a business is only as effective as the digital technologies it relies upon. The pandemic era demonstrated that both employees and customers expect organizations to have robust digital offerings — but in integrating more digital tools and services, many businesses neglected to consider how to build a digital infrastructure that was both effective and secure.
Cybersecurity is more important than ever, as more and more cyberattackers focus their attention on small and medium-sized businesses. Leaders might evaluate their current systems for the following mistakes, which must be rectified to keep the organization safe into the future.
Many businesses add new technologies in a piecemeal fashion, integrating new devices and gadgets as they grow and have need of them. Unfortunately, this is a good way to acquire the wrong tech and weaken the IT infrastructure to an unstable degree. From the very beginning of the organization, business leaders should work with IT professionals to develop an infrastructure plan and determine what types of technology they will need to find and use. This allows devices to synergize with infrastructure and maintain high functionality and security over a longer lifetime of use.
Digital technology evolves quickly, and businesses that survive longer than five years are likely to experience their initial equipment aging and becoming obsolete. Outdated devices are a major threat to security in many ways, and older tech tools could be hampering productivity and raising operating costs, as well. Business leaders need to develop a plan for updating their technology — after the tech has paid for its cost of acquisition but before it impacts business performance.
Insufficient Backup Solutions
Perhaps the most important component of a secure IT infrastructure is a system for backing up data. Due to the rise in targeting of business systems by cybercriminals, it is not a matter of if an organization will suffer a devastating cyberattack; rather, it is a matter of when. Thus, all businesses need an IT infrastructure that allows for automatic data backups that are saved in a location separate from the network but easily accessible for a speedy recovery from data loss.
Lax Security Measures
IT security should be built into the tech infrastructure in a variety of ways. Both physical and digital protections should prevent outsiders and malicious workers from accessing sensitive information on the business network. Some signs that an organization suffers from lax security measures include:
- Exposed ports
- Indiscriminately enabled services
- Poor or absent antivirus implementation
- Poor or absent firewall deployment
- Weak passwords
- Unsecured applications and applications with backdoors
- Lack of security policies
Today, a single license for using software allows a company to use that program on a single device. However, purchasing multiple single licenses is unnecessarily costly, not to mention difficult for the IT team to deploy. Instead, organizations need to work with the application manufacturer to buy a group licensing plan or else find cloud-based solutions that allow large numbers of employees to access practical software tools.
It is uncommon for the IT professional responsible for designing and building an IT infrastructure to remain with the same organization for the business’s entire lifespan. Thus, to allow future generations of IT workers to understand how the infrastructure functions, IT leaders need to ensure that every element of the infrastructure is carefully documented — and that those documents are properly organized in a known location. Hardware, operating systems, service accounts, visual diagrams, various procedures and more should have associated documents, and those documents should be kept updated with every change to the infrastructure.
Every business leader understands that technology does not come cheap. However, many leaders make the mistake of assuming that the majority of IT’s budget will be spent initially, during the acquisition phase of infrastructure building. The truth is that maintenance and emergency actions have associated costs as well, so business leaders need to plan for continuous IT spending with a category in their organizational budget.
Technology is not a passing fad; it is an essential component required to achieve business success. The more business leaders plan for their use of technology by investing in a robust IT infrastructure, the easier it will be for those organizations to adopt effective tech tools that allow the business to grow.