As many business owners, CFOs, and solo practitioners think about their end-of-year business planning, it’s a good time to look at your technology end-of-year needs as well. I have covered these five tips:
With so many security compromises occurring, following good password management practices is critical. If it has been a while, now is the best time to change and update your passwords. Using passwords with long series of complex characters that are unique to each site can’t be overstated. A good New Year’s resolution would be to start using a password manager to help you keep up with the tasks, such as LastPass or 1Password.
Backups are the cornerstone of all disaster recovery plans. Each business has its own backup and recovery requirements, but they should be reviewed regularly. The biggest questions around backups tend to focus on time to recovery and archiving data. Do you have new accounts that are depending on you to work all the time? Does the information you provide need to be stored and retrieved in a certain way, within certain time frames? Updated backup plans will help your company to recover from a cyberattack, major equipment failure, flood or catastrophic mistake made by a staff member.
Technology Budget Planning
Creating a budget or planning a tentative budget for technological needs is not an easy task. Similarly, to set goals for 2019, a certain type of review is required, looking at the past year. The business requirements need to be incorporated into these plans. Will business expansion require increased bandwidth on your Internet connection? in what ways can you improve the security of your client data? What can you do to add more security for remote users? These are just some of the important questions business managers might ask and need to plan for in the New Year. Start with your business goals and previous year challenges to map out new technology investments or enhancements.
An annual review of all company and client data is important for obvious reasons, but it may have compliance implications as well. Putting safeguards in place can help to prevent fraud and identity theft as well as enhance customer confidence and trust. Safeguard reviews should start with an observance of HIPAA, IRS guidelines or other industry standards that may be necessary for your business. You will want to preserve the confidentiality and privacy of all data by restricting access and disclosure. This may not be a costly effort but one that takes awareness and often attention to simple procedures. The recently updated “Safeguarding Taxpayer Data: A Guide For Your Business (Rev. 6-2018)” from the IRS offers many ideas on how to approach the topic, even if you are not an accounting firm.
IT policies establish expectations and regulations for behavior related to company technology and networks. Liaise with managers to review past issues and update policies with the organization. Review your current acceptable use policy and find ways to communicate expectations to your employees about proper technology handling. And of course, incorporate a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy along with guidelines on passwords, wire transfers and so on, as the Social Media Use Policy should be considered as a part of your policy review.