It’s a tale as old as time: a crucial update or security patch gets buried underneath a laundry list of updates, creating a vulnerability in your system which can then become exposed through sheer force of will. For companies that deal with important clients and multinational corporations, having a secure IT infrastructure means having a dedicated IT team ready to roll on with the updates and patch up any weaknesses in the existing infrastructure.
That means keeping an eye on any important IT updates to come out: not just in terms of Windows updates, but in terms of technology and good practice.
The difference between proactive and reactive IT
In over one third of cases, IT tends to be reactive rather than proactive. This means that the IT department is only called in times of a crisis, such as spilling coffee on your laptop or one of your coworkers wiring money to a Nigerian prince using their work email.
However, much like leaving your Facebook account open around that prank-playing friend, putting off calling the IT department until a real problem happens can have dire consequences. What happens is that this ends up drastically increasing both the time it takes to fix the problem, as well as the chances of further, worse problems developing in the process. This is especially problematic when it becomes a matter of security, or when it puts confidential client information at the risk of exposure; let’s face it, nobody really wants anyone else to know what they do, or buy, on the internet.
Proactive IT is a constant process of maintaining and updating security measures with the aim of limiting the probability of dire security risks or information problems developing. While a proactive IT process is not going to prevent the issues from happening, having upgraded measures and the latest in cybersecurity will cut down on a lot of the risk factors that could lead to those issues escalating until specialists are needed. Forget the Avengers: what you need is an IT team that knows how to get around almost anything your end-user could potentially do.
Why proactive IT?
Proactive IT makes sure that any security risks or confidential information is kept behind the best and the most recent security upgrades and practices available on the market. Often, old and outdated systems will have vulnerabilities that become evident over time, like buying clothes off of eBay that go transparent the first time you wash them.
The companies that create the software will release update patches often, but until the security threat is patched up, any company that has that software in operation is not fully secure, and could potentially become a target.
Furthermore, proactive IT is good practice for the rest of the organisation. It not only increases the security and stability of the internal systems, but also helps employees realise the value of having a proactive IT department that is ready to solve any latent issues (and it helps them understand not to click on every link that promises they’ve won the lottery!)
The benefits of proactive IT
Proactive IT has numerous benefits for any organisation, no matter the size.
Less time spent struggling with incompatible software.
Software that has become outdated could become incompatible with a wide range of applications. Remember how you had to click the same button four times to type out a single letter in a text message? This is the same principle: technology has moved on, and we need to move on with it. Businesses that rely on their software and hardware to run their organisation might find themselves wasting valuable time and money trying to get outdated software to interact with applications that are incompatible.
Less risk of security weaknesses.
Using software whose vulnerabilities are accessible and known to the general public always carries a greater inherent risk than software which has been upgraded to prevent these attacks from occurring. Although using updated software is not a guaranteed method of preventing phishing attacks, malware, or any other security threat, it greatly minimizes these risks. While it may cost a little more to make sure that the software you are running is protected against any possible threat, it pays for itself in the long-run. Outdated software and systems are the number one way that organisations can become compromised, so it’s best to limit these opportunities whenever possible.
Less time spent solving employee issues.
Proactive IT also helps any organisation directly. Keeping your hardware and software maintained to the highest standard limits the occasions for errors during an employee’s workday. Nobody wants to be working remotely on a really important document, only to have the server cut your connection: it’s not good for you, your employee’s mental health, or the people who can hear them swearing. It also cuts down on the possibility of employees jerryrigging their own solutions to a problem that can be easily fixed with a proactive approach. While computer-savvy employees might believe they’re helping out, it’s always best to rely on professionals for matters which put the organisation’s security at risk.
The problem with proactive IT
Proactive IT requires a proactive IT department that is dedicated to that one task: making sure that the organisation’s IT systems are updated and protected against any possible threat, no matter how big or small. For big organisations, this is likely something that they already have in place, although fewer and fewer organisations nowadays are supporting their businesses with an in-house IT department.
An in-house IT department can prove costly for organisations to support. Therefore it’s more common to see organisations outsourcing their IT requirements to outside organisations that offer a full-service IT department without needing to worry about them working in the organisation itself. While this is a good solution for many organisations, it’s important to find an IT company that agrees with your values, and can offer 100% support in real-time rather than using a system where human error and resources are thin, and where your organisation can find it difficult to get in contact with anyone on their end.
Should you use proactive IT?
Definitely! It’s a little bit like ‘should I use sunscreen in summer’ – you can avoid it, but going without it for long periods is definitely going to make you regret it. For increased security and safety, a proactive IT approach is the best way for your organisation to get the support it needs to prevent problems from arising, and to protect your bottom line.
AIRO is here to provide you with a full-service solution customised to your requirements, your organisation, and your preferences. We are fully committed to each of our clients and look forward to creating a partnership that benefits both parties – and we’re very passionate about working with organisations that can benefit from a helping hand.