Keys to Your Kingdom – Held Hostage

After 35 years in the IT industry, I have seen a widest variety of IT environments and met so many IT people. Some good, some bad, and some downright ugly (the environments, not the people).

Time for a reality check! Answer these questions honestly as a business owner or “C” level manager.

  • Are you afraid of your IT guy? Can you ask them “stupid questions?”
  • Do you know what your IT guy is doing monthly, weekly, or daily for that matter?
  • Do they hold all the passwords to your systems? Can they lock you out?
  • If they got hit by “the bus”, could you figure it out? What’s the backup plan?
  • Who has the skills to check on their work product? Are they using the industry best practices?  How do you know?
  • Why do you trust them but not verify? Are you afraid to offend them?
  • Does their office or server room look like a mess or is it super organized?
 

Whether you are old school or a millennial, you must admit technology has creeped into everything we do today and is necessary to run our businesses. Many owners rely on “someone” for technology support – maybe it’s a spouse, relative, friend, employee, or golfing buddy.

Information technology (IT) is the cornerstone foundation of every single business in the world. You cannot run one without it. Businesses won’t grow or survive. Now is the time to embrace, respect and learn how to manage your tech better – you don’t know what you don’t know. It can be hard to ask questions if you don’t understand the tech. But let’s think about this for a moment and compare to other areas we know are important but don’t understand. We all know cancer is bad. We rely on doctors to find it, irradicate it and improve our lives. We care about the outcomes. How is tech any different? If a doctor made you feel stupid and didn’t ask questions, would you keep them as your doctor? Why should your tech treat you any differently?

We all know cybersecurity is important. We don’t want to be hacked, ransomed, or held hostage from our own systems by a criminal or former employee. We may not understand how the hacking gets done, but we sure feel the
pain of the result.

I have met business owners or managers that have no idea how to access their systems, servers, or primary software. They’re completely dependent on an employee or third-party, the documentation is limited or non-existent, and these owners are afraid to even ask their IT person (or provider) for the credentials to their own systems. Why? You own it and it’s vital to your business’ survival. You absolutely have the right to know and should demand that you have the credentials and documentation to your systems. Period. No excuses. Sure, they will tell you not to break it or make changes. Of course, I won’t perform surgery on myself either. But if I must give my medical records to a different doctor, you bet I have the rights to that information.

How do you know if your cybersecurity is top notch? Doctors send you to get an MRI or x-ray, don’t they? Why would you trust the “observation” or “opinion” of your “IT guy”? Verify! We even have a third-party verify our own IT and we’re an IT provider! If they get offended by your testing and verifying, find a new person or company. Egos have
no place in cybersecurity.

You know what they say, how you do anything is how you do everything. If their desk or your server room is a mess, I can promise you, your systems are a mess and undocumented. The best IT folks are OCD and care about how things look and run. Organization and documentation are key to a successful IT environment. Don’t settle for anything less! You need everything labeled and organized.

So, let me know if you would like a second or third opinion. I would be happy to review your network and IT environment. I can do cybersecurity scans and review your security too. Why? Not to throw your current IT person under the bus. Nope. To help identify areas that have been missed or can be improved. We are happy to work with your internal IT to improve your environment and build a best practice approach to technology. This is a team effort. No one person or company can possibly know it all.

David Wolf
Your “new” IT guy

About the Author

As the Vice President, David Wolf is a technology visionary and serial entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience in the IT industry. David has achieved the highest industry security certifications of CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional), CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker), and CCISO (Certified Chief Information Security Officer). He enjoys using his technical expertise to help fellow business owners get the most out of their IT.

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