People generally think that they are taking care of their stuff. We box it, shelf it, use it, save the owner’s manual, and put it in a place so we know where it is at, if we need it.
The networks that we run our businesses on are no different than our weed eaters or gas cans. We spend money on them up front and leave them alone, until we really need them to perform their intended function, and they don’t work as expected.
Until recently, that thinking was effective and “matter of factual” for the small business. Nearly every office has a closet that contains networking equipment, janitorial supplies and paper plates. And no one has “take care of the closet and its contents,” on their job description. It is the ultimate second thought location in the office.
That thinking must die for a business to remain competitive in today’s landscape of always-on technology and the ever-growing threat of cyberattacks. Those who think, “this will never happen to me,” are coming into the spotlight with their tails between their legs asking for help at ever-increasing rates.
Type into a search engine, “I have ransomware,” and it auto-completes it with the words, “now what?” There are over 10,800,000 search results as well.
In general, these events were preventable if you ran some reports and tests on your network on a regular basis.
4 recommendations to reduce network issues
- Test your network speed. You know what you are getting from your ISP, and if your numbers don’t match what you are paying for, there is a reason. Too often, people run the tests and see a disparity and don't pursue it, claiming that it is a result of issues beyond their control. Search the web and see if your provider is reporting an issue. Log into your router and see what device is using the bandwidth and ask yourself, “is that normal?” More than once, we have had an office slow down because someone decided to install a huge update or download a lot of information during business hours, not thinking that it would impact everyone else.
- Review your server logs. The servers are something you can completely control, but you have to know what they are telling you when they aren’t behaving as expected. The logs are the best place to start. Here is a link from MSFT as to how to view and report from log files.
- Run the rapidfire tool and see what you have that is out of date, and that includes users! The number of people who still have working usernames and passwords for former employees from more than a few years ago is growing as fast as technology. There is this overwhelming fear that if they delete their account, they will be missing something. In the non-IT world, this is called hoarding. In the IT world, it leaves open back doors for remote access and rampant hacking using an account that no one even knew was still on the network
- Keep your hardware up to date. All manufacturers are required to provide critical updates that compromise security. Link to the updates page of each manufacturer’s device that you own and visit it weekly, to see if anything new is out. Sign up for updates, if they give you that option. Don’t be that guy who lets the bad guy in, because you didn’t realize he had found a new way to break down the building and you never reacted. It is embarrassing to learn that a patch to prevent an event was out there, for free, months before the hack happened, and you didn’t utilize it because you were too busy.