Spring Clean Your IT

By Special Guest
Matthew Urbano, IT systems administrator at BDNA
March 27, 2017

Spring calls for a fresh start after a long, dreary winter. There’s plenty to tidy up, from the dust collecting on your shelves to the software and hardware assets approaching End-of-Life (EOL) in your enterprise IT ecosystem.

It’s the perfect time for IT professionals to re-focus and organize their assets. Though the exercise may seem mundane, a thorough spring-cleaning initiative can save organizations time, money and stress in the long run.

It can also benefit the enterprise by keeping data safe, teams prepared for unexpected breaches and disasters, and employees up-to-date with the latest technology and trends.

Here are a few spring cleaning tasks that can help IT professionals get started.

Back-up your data

With the number of ransomware threats at an all-time high, backing up your data regularly is becoming more critical than ever. According to a study by IBM, 70 percent of enterprises infected by ransomware paid the ransom to regain access to their data. In these incidences, backups are arguably the best way to recover stolen data without having to pay.

  • Tip: Back-up data in multiple locations. For example, critical data can be stored on-site, while less critical data can be backed up in the cloud. This provides enterprises with more control of their data and can lead to long-term cost savings and greater security.
  • Tip: Utilize an IT asset discovery tool. Once enterprise data is backed up, the tool provides an inventory of all assets deployed in the enterprise, helping you identify where data resides. This detailed insight is invaluable, delivering complete visibility into your enterprise’s IT environment.

Be proactive about securing your enterprise

According to a BDNA report, from 30 to 50 percent of software and hardware assets in the average large enterprise are past their EOL date. Out-of-date and non-compliant assets are a major and often overlooked source of enterprise cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

When it comes to security, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Enterprises can get ahead of threats by being more proactive with their security. Proactive security measures include constantly updating antivirus protections, ensuring that your employees change their passwords regularly by use of strong password policies, educating them about security best practices, including inspecting emails carefully and being cautious about opening email attachments or clicking on unknown links.

  • Tip: You can utilize IT asset management (ITAM) tools to identify and eliminate EOL assets. Without processes in place to identify and remediate these EOL assets, enterprises are leaving networks and their data exposed for cybercriminals to exploit these unprotected flaws.

Review your business continuity plan and disaster recovery plans

IT professionals should work with members from all teams throughout the company to prioritize the most vital systems to ensure sustainability in the event of an emergency. Having an ITAM program in place is helpful because it provides an inventory of where assets are being deployed and where the most critical information is being stored.

For disaster recovery plans, IT professionals should remember to generate a business impact and risk analysis alongside the plan to determine the potential consequences of a disaster. Disaster recovery plans should account for critical systems failing for a certain amount of time, and put processes in place to mitigate those effects. It’s important to note that business continuity plans are proactive, while disaster recovery plans are reactive.

  • Tip: As threats emerge, both business continuity plans and disaster recovery plans should be re-evaluated and updated often. Once both of these plans are up-to-date, they should be tested and adjusted accordingly.

Stay one step ahead of hackers

IT professionals can stay ahead of hackers by being diligent about their inventory. By using a normalizing process, enterprises can gain the ability to identify and remove duplicate and irrelevant records to generate a comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date list of IT assets. With normalized data, IT departments can help their enterprises keep track of EOL dates, remove outdated and potentially vulnerable software and hardware, decrease security risks and manage BYOD devices.

  • Tip: Keep up with the latest industry news, including hacking trends, upcoming software solutions and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) tips. IT professionals should make it a habit to take 30 minutes out of their day to stay up-to-date with the latest news and trends.
  • Scary: Hackers are finding data more and more valuable. In addition to easily obtaining money from desperate victims via ransomware, hackers can also sell proprietary information to buyers online. As a result, they have continued to find new, creative ways to obtain it.

In summary, a thorough IT spring clean can do wonders for an organization, bringing in fresh perspectives, while keeping IT professionals ahead of the game and prepared for any potential risks. Being proactive will only help organizations in the long run, and may even bring up problems and present opportunities that were previously unaddressed.

With these tips in mind, your organization can mitigate threats, while optimizing efficiency in your enterprise.

About the Author

Matthew Urbano is IT systems administrator at BDNA. He has been helping employees with IT issues at companies all over Silicon Valley for more than six years. He has a B.S. in computer information systems from DeVry University and a master’s in information systems management from Keller Graduate School. 




Edited by Alicia Young


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