When you own a business, whether a small franchise or a large corporation, day-to-day operations are your top priority. Unfortunately, there’s a tendency to overlook the IT infrastructure that supports those functions.
Rytech reached out to its’ Florida partner, the Florida Association of Insurance Agents (FAIA) and its’ Director of Information Technology (IT), Daniel Francis, for some guiding principles on this consistently evolving element of American business.
In many cases, when it comes to implementing technology solutions, it’s easy to “set and forget it,” hoping that these solutions will continue to work autonomously.
Technology is changing rapidly in many areas, including (but not limited to) cybersecurity, cloud computing, and infrastructure-to-software as a service. Business owners should consider implementing a practice to review their tech solutions regularly (at least once a year). From a very general standpoint, the following areas should be considered
Hardware & Associated Operating Systems
Review current hardware (servers, desktops, laptops) and confirm they are patched out and have the latest system updates. Ensure that all hardware are not running obsolete operating systems that are no longer supported. Furthermore, consider replacing significantly outdated hardware.
• Ensure that workstations and servers have anti-virus and malware protection. These solutions are used to detect and catch possible cyber-attack exploits.
• For email security, implement a spam filtering service that can monitor and quarantine malicious emails that are sent to company email addresses.
• For network security, implement a firewall that monitors and controls network traffic coming in and out of your agency’s local area network.
• Be aware of any updates and/or patches that become available for any programs or applications (i.e., agency management systems) currently used. Typically, vendors of these applications will push down updates and/or patches; however, it is always good to be aware of product releases and notices.
• Consider looking into cloud-hosted versions of your current systems (if available). COVID-19 has changed the dynamics of how we work now. Depending on your work environment (remote-work/in-office), going to cloud-based systems gives greater flexibility to work remotely when physical access to an office is not possible. Furthermore, cloud-hosted systems typically provide data backup and recovery features with their services (see next point).
Data Backup & Recovery Solutions
Review current backup and data recovery procedures. This applies to data stored on your network as well as data associated with any applications (on-premises or cloud-hosted) used within your agency. While procedures may vary depending on current infrastructure and applications, be mindful of having data redundancy and replication in place.
Hardware, Security, Applications and Backup–keep the IT checklist handy when planning, reviewing and running your local franchise, your small business or even the largest corporation. You’ll be glad you did.
Daniel Francis–Daniel’s main area of expertise is web development utilizing Microsoft’s ASP.Net platform. He also possesses skills and knowledge in mobile application development, SQL/Databases, and Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Azure. He has consultative experience in the world of application development and served as team and technical lead on a major multi-million dollar project for the State of Florida’s Department of Education. He is responsible for developing the FAIA dashboard that provides a graph of FAIA member participation.