The UK’s largest travel association, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), recently fell victim to a cyberattack that exposed the personal data of up to 43,000 members. In 2015, the hacker group Anonymous attacked the New York Police Department’s union website. Sadly, these incidents aren’t unusual. Bad IT practices have the potential to threaten your organization’s daily operations and security. But, working with the right IT company can increase your association’s chances of effectively guarding against security breaches.
If you’re guilty of the following five bad IT habits, it’s not too late to act and correct them before it costs you and arm and a leg to repair the damage.
1. Not Backing Up Your Association Data and Not Testing Backups
Backing up data is a vital factor in being prepared during an emergency, when your association is most vulnerable. Emergencies commonly reveal poor backup practices, such as:
- Backup testing has not been done on a regular basis
- Poor backup configuration fails to back up the right data
- Backups have not been planned regularly
- Data has ceased backing up without notification
2. Not Installing Latest Security Updates
Consistently updating software is a fundamental factor in effectively securing systems and networks. If you have developed the bad habit of failing to keep your software up-to-date, you are leaving the backdoor open to hackers and may be seriously compromising the safety of your association. A software “patch” is designed to close known security holes, which hackers can exploit to breach systems and steal invaluable data. These patches are structured to update a computer program or its ancillary data in order to fix or enhance it. Usability and performance is improved as bugs and other security vulnerabilities are “patched.”
3. Paying for Bare Minimum IT Support and Getting Surprised When Technology Keeps Breaking
IT support is necessary and should not be viewed as only important in case of an emergency, when technology fails or security is breached. Relying on IT support as a reactive service helps when there are issues. However, such support does not necessarily anticipate problems. Paying for bare minimum IT support will produce only minimal results and leave nagging issues unaddressed. It is important to develop the habit of working with hands-on IT management companies to implement a tactical approach for securing your systems and network and ensuring that your technology runs smoothly. Consistent monthly support is a major component of a comprehensive and proactive IT service plan from a management company that not only includes support, but also encompasses the following all-inclusive services:
- Appropriate big-picture planning and budgeting
- Comprehensive 24/7 monitoring of all systems
- Diligent execution and maintenance of best practices across all systems
- IT support that can handle inevitable issues that arise
4. Using Old Computers and Servers Past Their “Expiration” Date
Nothing lasts forever. Technology is a fluid entity. Servers, computers, and technical devices have expiration dates, after which they risk breaking down, stop working properly, and are no longer supported by their manufacturer. The breakdown of machines can severely disrupt your association, especially if you have never implemented continuity plans. A comprehensive IT plan evaluates the existing infrastructure of your association, assesses budgetary restrictions, and devises replacement plans that can be implemented at varying stages in the future.
5. Not Giving Your Staff the Proper Cybersecurity Training
If your association is not adequately training employees in proper cybersecurity, you are guilty of opening the door to hackers and serious security breaches. Human error is one of the main sources of security vulnerability to your organization. Even the best security tools cannot protect your association from data breaches, if your employees are guilty of these bad habits:
- Failing to detect suspicious emails
- Clicking on dangerous links
- Connecting to unsecured public Wi-Fi networks
- Using poor password security practices
- Visiting compromised websites
Evaluate your current practices to ascertain whether or not your association is guilty of these five bad IT habits. If you practice any of them, you need to proactively make a change and seek out the services of an expert IT company. With guidance from the right IT company, you can keep your organization and its assets safe from security breaches.