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Don't let your IT go BANG!

Ensuring your IT doesn’t go BANG

By Liam Pickard

Your IT needs to be resilient to prevent downtime to your business. What you don’t need is your infra-structure to go BANG and fizzle out like a firework on the 5th November. No one wants to call IT support and rely on your backup and business continuity plans, but in the real world unfortunately sometimes things do go wrong.

On the 5th of November, what can Firework safety tips teach you about building IT resiliency into your infrastructure?

Light Fireworks Safely = Don’t Take Risks with your Infrastructure

You wouldn’t let your children light a firework, and you certainly wouldn’t tamper with a firework before you use it. The risks of something going wrong through negligence or creating a weakness in the firework are just too high. The same is true about your infrastructure. Only allow access to business-critical systems to those that really need it, be that your in-house technical team or a 3rd party IT support provider. Those in your business that do not require access to these systems are best kept at arm’s length, where they can’t accidentally turn something off or change a setting that leads to ‘fireworks.

Handling Sparklers = Brief People on the Risks

Sparklers are part of the fireworks tradition, one I still love today. As a parent though, every year I still go through the risks and proper handling of a sparkler with my son. As excited as he is to be handed a sparkler, he is made aware that the end burns at roughly 2000 degrees and that he needs to ensure he is holding it in the right place, wearing gloves and knows to dispose of the sparkler in the sand bucket we keep in the garden. This is our 10th Fireworks night and so far, no burns or tears.  Educating your IT users regularly as to what role they play in keeping your IT up and running is just as important. They act as the first line of defence to cyber-attacks, ensuring they are taught how to spot a Phishing Email or suspicious link can dramatically reduce the risks of an attack being successful.

Bonfire Building = Make sure your Infrastructure is Correctly Designed

When building a bonfire, it’s important to think about the location of the bonfire and to be prepared if the bonfire does set fire to something it shouldn’t. Ideally you would ensure you’re at least 18 meters away from any other flammable substances and have at least one fire extinguisher to hand. Your infrastructure and systems are the same. You need to make sure that everything is in the most appropriate place, be that on premises within a hosted data centre or in the cloud. Are these locations secure and fit for purpose? You should ensure that you have the right tools in place to protect these systems, a next generation firewall, Anti-Spam and Anti-Virus software, security monitoring, and a suitable backup in place. This way you can mitigate the risks of a cyber-attack, identify a risk early and lock down infected systems to stop the spread, and importantly, you’ll quickly be able to recover your systems to a point before any problems occurred.

Keep a Well-Stocked First Aid Kit = Have a Business Continuity Plan

No matter what you do accidents can happen regardless of how carefully you plan your activities this fireworks night. From sparks in the eye through to burns and more severe injuries, making sure you have the right equipment on hand will minimise the damage caused through misadventure. Apply the same level of Disaster Recovery preparation to your IT. It’s essential that your backup is fit for purpose, you must define your RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and RTO (Recovery Target Objective), test your backups are viable to restore form and the file are not corrupted and invest in the right tools to help you recover your data and systems within your RTO and RPO. By doing this you can rest easy that should something go wrong it will have minimal impact on your business operations.

If in Doubt go to a Professional Display = Work with an Award-Winning IT Partner

If you are unsure what to do with fireworks and bonfires, there are any number of professional displays you can go to, where they will have set everything up just as it should be and they will have teams of people available to look after everyone and deal with any problems on the night. In IT there are plenty of reputable IT support and Service providers that can manage your IT for you, ensuring that from design through to implementation and beyond your network is up and running so your business can do what it does best.

Have a great and safe Fireworks night.

For more information on Firework Safety visit http://www.bonfire-night-safety.co.uk/

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