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10 warning signs that your IT needs an upgrade

Upgrading your IT can be a daunting task, but it is even worse if you have left it for years by ignoring the warning signs. In today's article we go over the top 10 warning signs that you need to look out for to see if you need an IT upgrade.

1. You have no idea if your backup system is working, or it's a USB drive hanging off the server.

If the worst happens, and a disaster strikes to your network or server, or there is a security breach, you may need to recover your data and server from backup. Are you sure that your backup system is effective, that it has been working every day, and that the data is restorable, quickly and efficiently?

2. Your phones are ancient, and the phone system is a box on the wall that is so old you can't remember when it went in.

Businesses often leave their phone systems in place for years if not decades, and this may not only be costing a lot more than it could be, but could be really holding your business back - missed calls, poor call handling, no integration to the rest of your business processes and software. A modern capable phone system is vital for customer and internal communications.

3. Everyone knows your WiFi password.

Your WiFi should be considered as part of your security review - you need to be sure that your WiFi devices are distinguishing between local trusted users and guest users, and that both are secure. Are the devices up to date and set to the latest security protocols?

4. Your cabling and IT infrastructure is such a mess no-one knows what goes where or what equipment is which.

Networks evolve over time and this is entirely normal; parts get changed and other equipment added, additional network points are installed, or your Internet is changed. Over the years your cabling infrastructure and core network can become quite a mess of cables and equipment, unlabelled and untidy. This becomes a significant issue when and if disaster recovery situations occur; figuring out and fixing a messy network is likely to take a lot longer.

5. Your computers take ages to start up and shut down and are generally slow.

Users often put up with slowness and poor performance for a lot longer than they should. They tend to just assume that this is the norm, and that little can be done. In fact old and slow machines significantly impact your staff productivity, and their morale. Many of your staff may spend their entire working day in front of a computer, and if it is running at half the speed it could be, that's a major problem for your business. Sometimes, cost effective upgrades can squeeze a good performance increase from your current IT without completing replacing it all.

6. You are still using CDs, DVDs or USB sticks.

This is a sure sign that you haven't really adopted network and cloud based storage and file sharing in your organisation. Data stored on physical devices is not only old fashioned, it is risky and potentially insecure, and it is just inefficient. It is far more productive and secure to store the data in the cloud if you access from multiple locations and devices.

7. Everyone in the business uses the same passwords for the computers, or knows the logins.

Over time, users can become cavalier with their login credentials and with that, access to your network. They may have shared their login details with other people, they may use the same set of credentials with other non work accounts. They may have the same poor and insecure password they used years ago.

8. Your internet connection hasn't changed for as long as you can remember.

Internet connection technologies change and develop on a regular basis. Your Internet provider may be happy taking your direct debit and may not always advise you of the best solution available to you, leaving you on old and slow and unreliable connections. At Tenacity we consider it part of our job to review your Internet connectivity on a regular basis and ensure your broadband is the latest and greatest.

9. You are still using Windows 7 on computers, Server 2008 or earlier on servers, or (even worse!) Windows XP.

Using old unsupported operating systems on your network makes it much more likely to suffer a data breach and puts you in breach of data protection legislation. Whilst the UK's GDPR legislation does not specifically say that you cannot run Windows 7 any more, it does say that your organisation needs to have security measures in place to protect data - and still running an unsupported operating system would not be a reasonable security stance.

10. It's been at least a year since you last reviewed your network and cyber security.

Your network and cyber security should be your first consideration and you should be reviewing your security policies and protections on a regular basis. A security breach could cost your business dearly, real cash in the form of a fraudulent transaction or the demands of ransomware, but also massively disrupt your operations, damage your reputation, and in the worst cases get your fined and investigated. Most cyber security measures are not that expensive.

© Liam McNaughton, Tenacity, May 2021


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