A 9 Point Small Business Technology Checklist
by Doug Ziewacz | www.everonit.com
“Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don’t think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without the talking about the other”. – Bill Gates
For most small businesses, Bill Gates’ observation could not be truer. Technology is becoming, if not already, a vital contributor to the overall success of small businesses worldwide. The secret, I’m sorry to say does not necessarily lie with some sexy ultra-cool modern technology, rather in the approach beginning with the fundamentals of a sound network infrastructure. I know that the words “sound network infrastructure” might elicit as much excitement as watching paint dry and I might have even lost half my readers; but here me out. If technology plays a role in your success as a business then know this: Most successful small businesses score 100% on the 9 point small business technology checklist. How does your business compare?
A firewall is used to manage all traffic in and out of the network. The firewall will protect your network and your critical corporate data from outside intruders. A firewall is critical to the security of your business. A hardware firewall is strongly recommended for all small business networks. Do you have one?
Antivirus solutions are used to protect networks from hostile programs written to damage or destroy the integrity of your network. An antivirus is a must for any network connected to the internet. Are your antivirus definitions up to date?
The cornerstone to any data protection or disaster recovery plan is back up. Careful planning and execution of the backup system will increase the chances of recovery from potential technology disasters. Is your back up working properly and can you restore your information in the event of a data loss episode?
A proper remote access solution will provide your organization with the ability to access the network remotely, but do so securely. A hardware firewall VPN or Windows Server VPN is strongly recommended. How secure is your VPN?
A standard password policy will help to avoid any potential security issues or unwanted technology disasters. A good rule of thumb is to mandate that passwords are changed every 90 days, are not used more than once, are at least 7 characters long and include special characters. When was the last time you changed your passwords?
Email is critical to your daily business communication flow. Everon recommends using enterprise email solutions such as an in house exchange server or hosted solution designed for business use (this is not an AOL, yahoo, gmail, or other free account provided with a home internet solution).
With the amount of spam created in today’s digital world many corporate accounts enforce restrictions on incoming and outgoing email. It is important to take precautions to ensure your email is not black-listed or rejected by other organizations. Everon recommends a hosted spam solution that filters email for spam and viruses. The added benefit of a hosted solution is that it will spool or hold your mail if your server becomes unavailable for any reason, night or day. Is spam a problem at your organization?
You have made a significant investment in your technology hardware and we recommend the use of an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to protect your gear from power spikes in the building and to ensure a proper shut down of equipment in the event of a power failure. DO NOT PLUG INTO WALL .Everon recommends the use of enterprise level switching gear for your infrastructure to allow you to take advantage of your technology investments. (This is not 4 SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) switches daisy chained together to provide connectivity – this is bad. Has your company ever experienced power outages and lost the ability to work?
A reliable ISP with adequate bandwidth is critical to most organization. For certain businesses an “always-on” internet connection is critical to the daily functioning of the business and in such cases a “rollover ISP” (redundant backup internet connection) might be necessary. When was the last time your lost internet connectivity?
Everon recommends the use of name brand servers (Dell / Compaq / HP) The average lifespan of a server is 3-4 years; you should begin planning lifecycle replacement after 2.5 years. Everon recommends purchasing a little more power in a server than you anticipate needing as requirements always change over time and you will ask more of the device in its lifetime. How old is your server?
For more information about this article please contact Doug Ziewacz.