Understanding the Key Elements of an IT Issue Prevention Solution

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

We live in a data driven world, the volume and value of which continues to steadily rise. It’s now measured in zettabytes—that’s a one with twenty-one zeros after it—and valued in the trillions of dollars every year. The average data breach costs over three million dollars and can take months or even years to detect, resulting in a loss of reputation and trust that is incalculable. Another risk is ransomware attacks, which deny you access to your data. This type of attack has seen a dramatic increase recently. In 2020, over three hundred million of these attacks cost businesses worldwide around twenty billion dollars.

For many types of organizations these days the combination of their human capital and data are the most valuable, sometimes even the only real, assets a company has. Protection of and access to that data within their organization is paramount not only to their success, but their very survival. These growing, real threats cannot be eliminated, but they can be reduced, and their negative impacts lessened with an appropriate, well planned and maintained issue prevention solution. 

In combination with a sound issue resolution solution, which you can learn about in a previous blog post, issue prevention is key to best practice or benchmark level IT support. In fact, effective issue prevention considerably reduces the frequency and severity of issues and the costly work interruptions they cause. Let’s take a look at the basics of good issue prevention, its two main elements: protection and maintenance, and how they work together.

When setting up or securing an issue prevention solution through a service provider the first step is a complete audit of hardware and software used in the system or network. This is necessary in order to plan an issue prevention solution that works best for you. Each person’s or organization’s needs and the cyber threats to them are different, so support solutions will look different and should be customized as much as possible to meet those needs.

The world wide web and its connective sprawl to literally every corner of the globe has brought about changes to every aspect of the way billions of people work, play and live. But for all of the cyber world’s benefits, it is also a risky and even sometimes dangerous place, like its counterpart, the physical world, which, in fact, it is merging with more and more everyday. Hackers and viruses are the two main external threat sources to your computer or network, while insufficient administration and non-adherence to best practices are the main internal ones, and all have analogies to threats we face in the physical world. 

Think of hackers as vandals and thieves, and like a building’s security system which employs locks, guards, cameras and sensors to keep your office or home secure in the physical world, cyber security employs firewalls, antivirus solutions, encryption, passwords and protocols to protect your computer and network. 

Viruses need no analogy, really, as they literally exist in both worlds, but while viruses in the physical world attack without malice, that is not the case with viruses in the cyber world. Viruses in the cyber world can indeed be randomly destructive but they are also used as targeted tools for cyber crimes. 

Up-to-date antivirus software can be a useful tool for combating viruses, but secure, well managed user accounts with properly configured device and network firewall protection are also needed. But none of these measures will protect you if a link in a rogue email, that got through the firewall, is clicked on by an innocent user. This is why training and documented protocols, procedures and responsibilities for users are needed to complete your protection solution.

Insufficient administration of a computer system will lead to security threats such as missing, out-of-date, or improperly configured protection software, and more user mistakes—the two most common entry points for hackers and viruses. It also leads to either incomplete or completely nonexistent backup solutions or disaster recovery plans. This will mean both more risk and less ability to minimize threats or recover from issues when they arise.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, as the old saying goes. This was never truer than in IT. It’s said that there are two types of systems, those that have failed and those that are going to fail. IT issues are, unfortunately, inevitable but a solid, well-maintained issue prevention solution will go a long way in reducing severity and mitigating loss.

By Duane Cavalier


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