With the New Year upon us, I wanted to share the top five technology resolutions that should be an essential part of your IT strategy.
Resolution one: IT security – reinforce employee education on ransomware and other cyber attacks.
With repeated reports of ransomware and cyber threats circulating, we recommend you add IT security as a topic at your next staff/team meeting.
Sharing experiences and knowledge could be the difference between a painful outage as a result of malware versus being malware free and staying productive. A member of my family was recently the victim of a scam, and while it may seem obvious, it’s the strategy behind it that you need to talk to your staff about.
Whilst on Facebook, she clicked on a banner ad that caught her eye, presuming this was a trusted environment. However, adware (malware that’s included within advertising links) is becoming more and more common. Immediately after clicking the ad, her computer locked showing a screen indicating she had a virus, and needed to call tech support to get it resolved, including a 1800 number. The computer was also making a constant, high pitched noise which of course raised her anxiety. In a panic she called the 1800 number, and paid $700 on her credit card to have the message and sound removed.
Fortunately, she spoke to me soon after and I explained it was a scam and to cancel her credit card, but this type of threat is on the rise.
Resolution two: plan the required service transitions in your IT roadmap.
With Telstra announcing their digital grade service (ISDN) will be disconnected in the coming years, due to the nationwide roll out of the NBN and the incompatibility these products face with the new technology, it is important to have a transition plan to VoIP within your IT road map.
Whilst Telstra anticipate final disconnection will occur in 2022, some businesses could face losing services as early as 2019 depending on their location.
This could mean your business phones are disconnected and permanent loss of your numbers, causing major disruption to your business. Many businesses, who have a fast approaching disconnection date for their landline phone and internet service, are leaving the transition to the NBN to the last minute.
Transitioning to the NBN is not a trivial matter and requires a significant lead time, which should be carefully planned with your IT and voice system providers. Leaving it to the last minute significantly increases your chances of business interruptions and outages, therefore we recommend you order your NBN service at least three months before the disconnection date.
Resolution three: start incorporating artificial intelligence tools into your IT strategy.
Definitely a hot topic of late and into 2018, more and more companies are looking at ways that artificial intelligence (AI) can enhance their business. Often associated with large enterprise, small to medium sized businesses are now taking full advantage of AI.
Website chat bots are becoming increasingly popular, allowing businesses to become more engaged with customers through the website without having to have someone on-hand to reply. These tools provide customers immediate answers they may require without having to leave the website or picking up another device. Couple this with live chat for an even greater impact.
Popular chat bot platforms / tools to implement in your IT process include:
Meokay: allows you to make an emotional connection by customising your discussion;
- Botsify: allows you to create AI chat bots without coding;
- Flow XO: smart chat bots made simple; and
- Chatfuel: allows you to launch a full featured chat bot in 7 minutes.
Resolution four: design a solid password policy.
Now is the time to update that password you have been meaning to change for some time. With the password brett1 taking only 54 milliseconds to crack, brett123 a minute and brett2016 only 42 minutes, password attacks are real.
Selecting a secure password that follows best practice can be complicated. The trick is to find methods that provide enough complexity to make your password too hard to bother for a brute-force attack, without making it too hard to live with.
Guidelines to update your password policy include:
- Using the first letter from a favourite phrase;
- Adding a few numbers and characters; and
- Include some capital letters.
An example of this I saw several years ago was the line from Gone with the Wind – frankly my dear I don’t give a damn – was turned into the password Fmdidgad. The How secure is my password site gives it 22 minutes to survive a brute force attack. By adding just a few numbers and characters – Fmdidgad12#% – this password will take 34 thousand years to crack.
Resolution five: get inspiration from tech influencers like Elon Musk
Want to impress your colleagues with your technology knowledge? Follow Elon Musk using your preferred social media platform. Musk is revolutionising transportation both on earth and in space, and is also changing the way we supply power by using battery storage and other technologies. According to Forbes, Elon Musk is the twelfth richest person in technology and the twenty-first most powerful person in the world.
An amazing entrepreneur and widely considered the technology successor to people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, as well as the real-life inspiration for Iron Man’s Tony Stark, Elon Musk is a fascinating subject to follow.