Your New Year systems health check

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Your New Year systems health check
Wednesday, 17th January 2018

The start of a new year is often the perfect time to pause and take stock, and reviewing the condition of your systems is a great place to start.

While you’re probably already consistently monitoring the health of your IT infrastructure, the world of IT moves so quickly, with new updates and patches being released constantly, that IT professionals can really benefit from external support. When your business relies on technology for day-to-day operations, and your customers expect you to be available 24/7, having a team of technical experts keeping a close eye on the health of your IT systems could make a real difference to the success of your business.

For those that don’t currently have comprehensive technical support from a third party, we’ve outlined an essential ‘systems health check’ that you can carry out in-house. When conducting a basic review of your systems, consider whether they are…

1.Fully secure

Security has never been more important when it comes to IT. Organisations hold sensitive company, staff and customer data that those responsible for IT have a duty to keep safe.

Regular staff training on IT security, coupled with an auditing programme, helps ensure that everyone is on board and there aren’t any weak areas or devices open to hackers. New vulnerabilities and viruses are detected all the time, so it pays to stay ahead. Educate your wider teams on best practice for passwords and joining open networks while on the go. Check that virus scanners and firewalls are installed on all staff devices – whether they are company-owned or private devices used for work purposes - and that staff are updating them systematically when necessary.

You need to ensure that anyone that interacts with your IT systems is compliant, so look beyond your internal staff to any suppliers or external support that accesses your network. Look for security accreditations and certifications, such as ISO 27001, PCI-DSS and SOC 2, to ensure that your systems are in good hands.

2.GDPR compliant

On 25th May 2018, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force, and organisations that aren’t compliant face fines of up to €20 million or 4% of their annual global turnover – so it will pay to check now to make sure that every element of your business complies before the deadline.

To conform with GDPR, any Personal Identifiable Information (PII) you hold must be secure – so take the steps outlined above, and think about whether your backup data is as secure as it could be. If you’re using a physical tape backup service, you may want to consider moving to a Virtual Tape Library (VTL) solution, which virtualises your data and stores it on hard drive disks. With Blue Chip’s VTL solution, your backup data is encrypted both at rest and in-flight, so if your data falls into the hands of hackers it isn’t readable.

Another vital element of GDPR is the right to be forgotten, which means that if any individual requests for you to remove their personal data, you will need to remove all traces of it within a timely manner. Can you quickly remove data from across your IT infrastructure? This includes backup data, which will be an arduous task. A Virtual Tape Library enables you to respond to these requests more quickly.

3.Easy to restore

If your security processes are up to scratch, you should have a good level of protection against attacks – but in the rare event that your systems are breached, you need to ensure that you have an excellent recovery arrangement in place.

Every business will have its own recovery time objective (RTO), which is the length of time within which your business needs to be up and running again in the event of a disaster. You will also have a set recovery point objective (RPO), which is the maximum amount of time data can be lost – so, the quantity of data your business feels it can afford to lose. If you haven’t already defined your business’s RTO and RPO, take some time to work this out and then check that your disaster recovery arrangement can meet these specified limits.

If you use an external provider for technical support or disaster recovery services, review your contract with them. Check that you have the level of technical support you need, and that they have appropriate processes in place to prevent issues before they arise. Our Itheon software, for example, helps us to protect uptime by constantly monitoring your systems and identifying potential issues. Our team of technical experts is always on hand to offer support and keep your business running.

Need a hand?

We know that for many businesses, there’s simply no spare time to stop and review your IT infrastructure, regardless of the benefits. That’s where we can help – with over 30 years in the industry, we have the expertise to provide you with market-leading IT solutions, from disaster recovery to VTL. Talk to one of our team today by calling 01234 224400 or email info@bluechip.co.uk

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This article was written by Blue Chip. Since being established in 1987, Blue Chip has grown to build a reputation for delivering the highest quality of service, specialising in IBM technology. Today Blue Chip delivers a range of IT services and solutions that are designed to support its customers in achieving their business objectives.
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