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Techie Resolutions: Making your IT better…

By jjrosen|January 20th,2020|IT|No comments

Tech Solutions for 2020 from Atiba from our Tennessean column…

Like most people, I have made and failed at many a New Years resolution.  Each year I promise myself to exercise more and eat less.   I resolve to read more books and watch less TV.  And some years I commit to spend more “me time” before quickly realizing I have no idea what that even means.

These lofty goals generally fade for me by mid-January when the holidays have faded, and my daily routine kicks back in.   I’d like to say I have a sense of disappointment in my inability to keep my annual resolutions, but honestly by February I have forgotten what I had promised to do—I guess ignorance is bliss.

This year, I decided to get real.

Instead of making myself empty promises, I figured I would focus on smaller, more practical changes that would allow me to be more efficient and less stressed.   As an IT consultant, I went with what I know—optimizing the technology I use to make life better.

I call it my “New Year’s Techie Resolutions”– practical, achievable technology to-do’s that I want to accomplish in 2020.

Here’s the list I came up with:

  • Live completely in the cloud. Most of my Word docs, Excel files, and photos are stored on Microsoft OneDrive.  I use this as my cloud-based file server so I can get to any file I need from any device (laptop, phone and iPad).   But I still end up with a few things stored locally on my computer or phone.   No more –  in 2020 I will be sure every file I need is stored in my cloud drive.
  • Making the tech I use more secure. Here and there I have turned off security features that slowed me down.  More security usually equates with less convenience, but the tradeoff is worth it.  Double-checking that 100% of  my data is encrypted, all of my passwords are unique and strong, and that I have multi-factor-authentication (requiring a texted code to in addition to a password) for any web-based services I use will help me sleep at night.
  • Upgrading my laptop. Since I am a cheapskate, I tend to wait until my computer fails before buying a new one.   I have learned the hard way that you are better off upgrading every 2 years.    My plan is to be less cheap and more efficient – and buy a new laptop before month’s end.
  • Setting up “Data Loss Prevention (DLP)” on my email. This is a new security technology that uses AI (artificial intelligence) to block any confidential information from accidently leaving my email box.  If I ever accidently send an email with my SSN or credit card number, DLP will warn me before the email leave my outbox.  Some doctor’s offices are beginning to use it in order to be sure no patient information is ever sent out inadvertently. Financial institutions are starting to implement DLP to enforce privacy policies.   I have resolved to get this up and going at our company by March.
  • Upgrade from two to four monitors. If you have ever used two monitors, you know how much productivity you can gain. I resolved to order a laptop docking station that supports four screens so I can get more done when sitting at my desk.

The good and bad of technology is that it’s always changing.    With tech integrated into nearly every facet of our lives, keeping up with it all can be daunting.  But strategically implementing tech resolutions even when small is worth it.  Happy techie 2020!

JJ Rosen is the founder of Atiba. A Nashville software development and IT consulting firmVisit www.atiba.com or www.cabedge.com for more info.

 

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Breaking Down a Security Audit

By WillD|April 27th,2018|IT,Security|No comments

There is a difference between a technical audit and an IT security audit. Performing an IT security audit on a regular basis is important to make sure your IT platforms and all your valuable data are safe from all the constantly evolving security threats that come along. A security audit by a third party will analyze the strength of your current security efforts and identify any security flaws that could set you up for a potential breach.

security guardSmall to mid-sized businesses are especially tempting targets for attackers because smaller businesses often don’t have the a full complement of security specialists on staff like large, multinational corporations do. Cyber criminals getting into the data or even the financials of a small to medium sized business can be particularly devastating. And criminals can really dig in for a while without being detected, while breaches at companies with a full security department will probably be detected quickly.

You probably have a set of security policies and procedures in place for your company, but the speed at which technology evolves can make those policies outdated and irrelevant in short order. A good security auditor will often use those policies as a starting point for their review. This is why you should invest in a complete third-party IT security audit on an annual basis.

To perform an IT security audit, specialists collect data from the systems your company is running and use audit tools to assess your security situation. After a thorough analysis of your IT system, you’ll receive a full report detailing the strengths and weaknesses of your system, with a list of action items you should take for maximum security improvement.

Don’t forget to reach out to us today to see how we can help your business!

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When Is It Time For A Technical Audit And Review?

By WillD|April 25th,2018|Client Services,Security|No comments

It Has Been A While

Yes, “a while” is vague and it is vague for a reason. If your IT infrastructure has been cruising along with little or no changes while your business continues to operate, you may only need to do a technical audit every couple of years to see if your systems are outdated. But if your IT systems are constantly being updated and changed, you should consider having an IT audit done on a more regular basis.

It Is Time For A Software Vendor Audit

computer screen full of codeThird-party software vendor audits can be a nightmare for IT professionals who aren’t prepared for them. If the vendor finds evidence of overuse, they can charge your company a lot of money that isn’t in the budget. Software vendors can be very aggressive in their auditing practices in order to get as much money out of you as possible. Get ahead of them by doing an audit before they do so you’ll know if you’ve overused their product and can take steps to prepare for their findings.

You Are Starting A New Project

If you are starting a new technology project, it is a good idea to get your IT audit team involved from the beginning. This allows your internal tech staff to view the audit team as business partners instead of interlopers who come in after the fact to point out what they did wrong. But, more importantly, it gives you an objective third party to guide the project by checking on it occasionally to catch those mistakes before they become part of the final product. It is much easier to make changes along the way than it is to make them after the fact.

Your Policies Have Become Too Complex

As your company grows it is only natural for policies and procedures to expand with greater complexity. But they sometimes get to a point where they are too complex and burdensome, and you can end up with contradictory or counterproductive rules. Additionally, exceptions can be getting out of hand. Exceptions are a natural part of defining procedures and policies, but documentation can be sketchy because exceptions are often done by individuals for unique cases. An IT audit can bring all of these policy problems to light so your team can make sense of them.

Hire A Trusted IT Auditing Firm

The most important foundation to the technical auditing process is to make sure you hire and experienced technical audit and review firm to do the work. They can become a trusted partner who can get your IT infrastructure and services on the right path to maximum productivity.

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