2021 may be the Christmas that we all collectively exhale and exclaim “Thank goodness this year is over”.
However, before you rush out the office door for Christmas time, mistletoe and wine, here are a few quick Christmas tips from our members at the IT Alliance, to ensure you have a relaxing Christmas break.
Every season you’re going to need good support from IT professionals. Keep your technology in tip top shape, and you’ll have a happier holiday season. A few preparations before leaving for Christmas holidays, will ensure a relaxing time for all.
Staffing and training:
Have you got your organization covered over the Christmas and New Year period? While everyone rushes off, it pays to ensure that your organization has adequate staffing levels, and/or availability of key resources.
If you are working on a skeleton staff, make sure that there is a backup contact in case of any information security or cyber incident. Also make sure that the staff running the show, actually know what they are doing! Many a security event has happened when staff are not adequately trained.
Business Continuity Plan:
This is also a good time to review your company’s disaster recovery/business continuity plans, to ensure they cover these scenarios:
- Contact information for key people e.g. staff, suppliers, authorities, couriers, support.
- Clear descriptions of responsibilities for individuals
- Making important information readily available such as alarm codes, building access codes, passwords.
- Have passwords and codes changed and has your plan been updated to reflect this?
- A process for communicating important messages to your customers
Out of Office on:
Nothing irritates customers more then not getting a quick reply. Be sure to communicate your office hours clearly to your customer, along with clear back up contact numbers.
Start telling customers your availability as soon as possible. Communicate it via as many avenues as possible:
- Social Media.
- Email communication.
- Ensure customers receive clear contact details, back up numbers, email contacts and clarity around dates.
- Make sure your Email out of office is switched on (possibly for external emails only), and your message is clear.
- Add a temporary message to your mobile phone so you are not disturbed.
- If you run social media accounts, consider archiving them for a few weeks so that you don’t have to ruin your summer monitoring social media.
Update and upgrade IT:
If Christmas is a busy time for you, ensure that your technology can handle more traffic. Review system integrations to make sure front-and back-ends can communicate smoothly. Identify any issues or bottlenecks in advance to be able to upgrade or update any IT that needs help.
If you do need major IT upgrades or system changes, postpone them until after the holidays. Don’t mess with what works right now if you don’t have to do so.
Safeguard business data
Unfortunately, cyber criminals don’t seem to take a holiday. In fact, holiday season is a ripe time for cyber-attacks, as people are distracted.
In 2020, the greatest number of daily attacks in the last quarter of the year were on December 31.
Make sure you are protecting systems, detecting threats, and defending against attacks. A security assessment can help determine what you are doing well and could be doing better. Please contact your ITA member to discuss your specific concerns.
Test backup and recovery
Ensure IT resiliency by testing your backup and reviewing your business recovery plans.
We recommend data backups in three places as best practice. Back up to a local, on-site computer, to a remote device that requires separate access, and have a third backup that is Air Gapped (Not connected to the internet). Some automatic backups can be compromised and while away this might occur over the entire period leaving no valid backups.
Test your backup to:
- confirm data accuracy;
- ensure you can effectively access and use the data;
- gauge the time it takes to perform a backup;
- identify and address any issues that arise during recovery.
Beware what you share!
Whilst social media is a great tool to share holidays snaps, it pays to remember Social media can be difficult to keep these connections private, with a potential audience of…um… the entire world! The impact on the privacy of your devices, your sensitive information and even your personal security plays as a key disadvantage of social networking.
There is an abundance of fake accounts, trolls and fraudsters online, who seek to obtain and collect your personal information for possible criminal activity. Be strict with your privacy settings and be vigilant of the things you post. Avoid accidentally sharing information that could hint at:
- Login Details – email addresses, usernames and passwords. For example, potential answers to security questions ‘What was your first pets name”
- Promoting that you’re out whilst your house/workplace is unoccupied
If it is a slow time in your office, it can also be an ideal time to clear out old data and perform maintenance on PC’s such as clean the dust, move old data, and clean up user information. Take a break!
Some people will be working over the Christmas and New Year period, and if you are we’d like to THANK YOU for keeping the country running and services/goods flowing!
But for those of us who are taking a break – PLEASE – make sure you do get to switch off and have a real break away from your business / mahi. We all need to switch off for a while every year. Be well, stay healthy and return ready for an awesome 2022!
Plan to refresh your IT/Online strategy
Things are moving so fast, and IT/online technologies are moving faster. What opportunities can you create, or gaps can you plug, with a smart IT/online strategy?
Ponder on this and feel free to reach out to any of our IT members in the new year to discuss how information, communication and online technologies can serve you.
To reach out to a trusted IT professional New Zealand wide, please contact any of our IT Alliance members.