How to Avoid Costly IT Mistakes

Mistakes happen everyday, some are more expensive than others.

How many times have you had that “uh oh” moment when you realize that something has gone very wrong in your company’s technology infrastructure? Has it happened often enough for you to write a list of similar events? And

To protect your data and defuse the threats of viruses, intellectual property theft and costly mistakes, consider these 10 tips:

1) Formulate an incident response plan. One serious mistake companies make is to wait until something bad happens – like a virus or security breach – before they start thinking about how to respond. By then it’s often too late, because the negative publicity surrounding a serious incident can be overwhelming.

2) Give careful consideration to your backup plan. Many companies make the mistake of not backing up the entire network every day or keeping backups for longer than one week. You don’t want to be in a situation where you need to restore an entire server and don’t have the needed backup.

3) Maintain a detailed inventory of all hardware and software used in your organization. If you’ve ever tried to track down a piece of equipment, only to find it missing or unknown, you know how important this tip is.

4) Keep antivirus software up-to-date. Antivirus companies constantly issue patches to their software, so you need to make sure your system is configured to get them automatically or manually install them regularly.

5) Hire an IT Company to manage your servers and workstations. This is especially true if you don’t watch them closely or keep them updated.

6) Make sure all employees understand the importance of security and what they should do to protect your customers’ information, your company name and your brand image. For example, never access a customer’s account because it could introduce rogue software into your system.

7) Check all contacts who have physical access to your equipment before they are hired, periodically monitor them after they’re hired and fire anyone who doesn’t follow security policies. For example, if an employee has a problem with an ex-spouse or flirts with another employee in person or via email, you need to know about it.

8) All companies, big and small, need to have a physical presence in the U.S. This is critical in case you need to sue someone for exploiting trade secrets or violating your intellectual property rights. If ever there were a rogue employee with access to sensitive data who went overseas, it would be difficult if not impossible to bring that person back.

9) One of the easiest ways to steal a company’s intellectual property is through its marketing efforts. Remember, everyone on your mailing list can be contacted by an outside company offering substantially lower prices. If you don’t want the rest of the marketplace using your trade secrets or information about how to rip off your products, you need to protect yourself.

10) Set up a Vendor Risk Management program and access the facilities of third-party vendors who have access to your networks and data. You want to know how they handle your information and whether or not they take security seriously. If you think it’s too expensive or time-consuming, just wait

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