Helping clients manage their technology for over 30 years.

Infrastructure security and coping with cloud and social media: 9 key questions to ask

Our chief technical officer, Mike Dillon, estimates that the number of infected sites is growing by 20% to 25% a year. “If your company is shifting more toward cloud services and hasn’t addressed security, you will be attacked,” he says.

So here are the (non-technical) questions you need to ask and get answered to protect your business:
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Security that works starts with the right business decisions

Effective information security is gravity-fed: It starts at the top and works its way down, always beginning with a strategy explicitly designed to protect business value. That strategy then gets implemented via an over-arching security policy or plan.

Developing information security strategy and policy centers on making the right business decisions. Once you do that, what seems the most daunting part of information security — choosing the appropriate technologies — becomes much more transparent.

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Steps 3 and 4 to mastering business IT disruption: Testing and reviewing your disruption-avoidance plan

So here you are with a solid How-We’ll-Stay-In-Business-Plan. Time to relax, right?

Well, not quite — although this is the point at which many stop paying attention to their disruption-avoidance plan.

Step 3 to mastering business IT disruption requires that you test your plan often. This is essential because change has a way of sneaking up on organizations, and those changes can upend your carefully laid plan to overcome disruptions. Fortunately, the right service provider will include regular testing in the price of your service.

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Step 2 to mastering business IT disruptions — continued: The 3-part path to implementing cost-effective disruption recovery solutions

Before you can implement the best disruption recovery solutions, you have to know what they are. This entails a three-part process that requires business continuity/disaster recovery expertise:

  1. Figure out the minimum applications and data necessary to sustain your business and the timeframe(s) within which your necessary apps and data must be restored. How long, for example, can you function without email? How long can you make it without voice communications?
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Step 2 to mastering business IT disruptions: Include employees in your planning

By definition, no event that interrupts your organization’s operations is trivial, so your plan should address all emergencies that could disrupt your business.

This requires some serious thinking about how your business works, which you can’t accomplish without your employees. Their cooperation can be inspired with the reminder that if a disruption puts the business at risk, their jobs are at risk, too. Your disruption-avoidance planning should:
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One must-ask question when dealing with the Tower of Techno-babble

Often, technology is inherently confounding to the business mind, in much the same way that most of us don’t comprehend what our doctors tell us about our health — unless it’s translated.

Most of us demand a decent translation of medical jargon and concepts when we face a risk to our health. And if the first attempt at translation fails, we insist on further attempts until we ‘get it.’

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Beyond the commoditized cloud: 3 aspects of customization

While cloud computing services save you from much of the arcane complexity inherent in today’s information technology, this can go too far when a provider eschews customization to simply sell you a cast-in-concrete service package and then walk away.

So look for a cloud services provider you can trust to take the time to understand your objectives and what’s necessary to achieve them. Without sacrificing affordability, the right cloud services provider should be able to work seamlessly with your staff, systems, policies, and procedures to design, deploy, and support the exact service solution your business needs to compete and grow.

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Do you really know what kind of cloud works best for your business?

It’s easy — too easy — to get lost in the techno-babble about all those types of cloud computing. Once you’ve decided which IT capabilities you want to offload to a cloud, what matters most is whether the cloud service you choose can really handle business needs.

Which is why I prefer a simpler way to describe today’s cloud computing landscape: Consumer clouds versus business clouds.

Without sacrificing speed, business-focused cloud computing services can deliver a far more flexible and agile IT infrastructure that you pay for monthly, like a utility.

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4 ways cloud computing boosts your bottom line

Cloud computing is a tried-and-true approach that exploits the universality of a new(ish) delivery mechanism: The Internet.

When you implement cloud computing solutions, you will be able to…

  • Reduce capital expenditures. You pay a monthly fee that comes out of your operating budget, not CapEx.
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Liberate 35-50% of your legacy IT spend with cloud computing

Do you spend so much maintaining legacy IT operations that you can’t think about doing anything new? Well, think again: Reallocating part of your IT budget to cloud computing could liberate 35% to 50% of what you spend on legacy operations.

According to Gartner, Inc., a highly respected IT research firm, the “average” IT organization devotes almost two-thirds of its budget to day-to-day operations. Here’s another “average” from Gartner: In 2011, IT budgets will increase 1%.

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