IT Spring Cleaning

Believe it or not, Spring Cleaning IT helps your business be the most secure!

➤ What do spring cleaning and IT have in common for small businesses?

Have you ever spent the weekend cleaning out a closet? It is a project that you had no desire to do once you got started, but when finished you did not know what to do with all the free space you suddenly acquired. When you are done you wonder where all that stuff came from. Years of saving wrapping paper, old shoes, and who knows even a couple of random stuffed animals leftover from the kids.

Like most Americans, we take every opportunity to fill empty space with clutter. Our garages become storage spaces and our attics become wanderlust lands of antiques and things that we may use “someday”. The reality is for most, it gets this way from “out of sight out of mind” and our busy daily lives only give us enough time to focus on what is needed to be fixed or looked at right now or paid or… Oh wait, was I talking about our personal lives or the small businesses we operate?

It seems to be that way in small businesses too, right? We run around doing all the necessities of things that need to happen right then and there, but when things become out of sight out of mind, we forget about them. OK, so how does this relate to IT?

Well for those that continue to strive to have in-house IT staff, that role is usually staffed by a person who handles multiple jobs. They get busy running from fire-to-fire cleaning up the mess after mass or wearing the other “hats” in order to justify their jobs.

When you outsource your IT support and services, the vendor does not get that luxury/curse of having lots of different jobs or in some cases lots of downtimes to do nothing. Their job is to maintain IT amongst multiple clients, so they need to make sure every site is a lean mean running the ship, truly little room for failure, and is easy to maintain. Their Small Business IT must run itself, be self-alerting, and not have anything “extra.” So, in a way, what they do is constantly spring clean the IT infrastructure that resides at each one of their clients. They know that the least of stuff or clutter that resides in those scary IT closets the better. Why? Well, everything or every object or every cloud service that builds your small business IT ecosystem takes maintaining securing and support.

There is no fixed rule on how much, but the logic is that everything requires some sort of support and labor to be maintained. So, what becomes scary is the 15-year-old manage switch that has not had a password change in about as long as the old server that was supposed to be decommissioned five years ago, is still up and running, with the unpatched operating system. As well as the occasional wireless router whose SSID has not had a password on it since the dawn of time still sending out a weak but live signal giving access to every passerby to your network. These are just a few of the many IT clutters that do not get removed, and at the end of the day, they leave a wide-open hole for cybersecurity threats to infiltrate your network.

So, let us clean out our IT closet this spring, shall we? Let us finally throw away those pair of pants from college that we will never fit in again or those shoes that no one really likes but we held onto because we paid just too much for them… Oh was I talking about IT closets or personal life? Sometimes the lines get blurry ha-ha.