Qualities to Consider When Evaluating an IT Provider

Managing your technology is a very different task than just 5 years ago. The addition of ransomware alone has made running a business exponentially more stressful.

Most people think it won’t happen to them. However, at any point, a staff member or third-party provider could make an innocent mistake, and – just like that – all your business data could be gone.

Businesses have many aspects to consider when figuring out how to keep systems running smoothly and ensure customer/patient data is safe.

Consider every aspect

Currently – in the middle of a pandemic – expense is one of those considerations. However, not all IT providers are equal. In fact, there’s a wide berth of choices, and you need to analyze what is most important for your business.

For instance, if you run a craft store and simply use your computer for inventory and the odd email campaign, you won’t need deep expertise – perhaps only the occasional tune-up or service call.

On the other hand, a business that stores customer credit card data, collects financial information, insurance data, or the most sensitive of all – health information – most definitely does need an IT provider who understands how to protect that data properly.

Choose your guy carefully, and beware the cost

Most businesses need way more expertise than just a guy who know about computers. Today’s hackers are taking full advantage of unprotected systems and sloppy networks. Even big businesses and governments can’t seem to keep our data safe.

As it turns out, evidence points toward the fact that the $70/hr guy often takes three times longer than the $140/hr guy, which has an exponential effect on business downtime, and adds additional expense.

Having a plan can save you money

Your customer or patient data is the heart of your business, and you can’t exist without it. We’re in the business of security and IT automation to save you money, but if you don’t go that route, here are some things to consider:

Who’s managing Cybersecurity?

Simply having antivirus is NOT a security plan. Your business requires monitoring of both systems and people. For example: most healthcare practices need to add this to ensure the safety of their patient data. Does your company factor this in, or do you have to outsource cyber-security as well?

How are the systems being kept up to date?

Do you have a provider that’s checking on all the updates and ensuring they’re installed as soon as they’re available? Doing so helps you prevent downtime and protect against security threats. This can be costly if done manually, but it is very necessary. Automating this process can save a lot of money and is much more effective.

How do you know you’re protected (internally and externally)?

If you are a business with sensitive data, such as law, accounting, bookkeeping, educational institution or a healthcare practice, you need reporting to prove systems are protected and know who is accessing what within the systems.

You should be receiving a daily summary report showing that the security systems are in place and working to protect you. If you’re not, you have the right to ask for that, and it should not be too much for your contractor to provide it.

Additionally, get an access report monthly so you can see who in your organization is doing what. This can help you evaluate your expenses as well, since it will demonstrate the amount of technician time spent on your account.

Who are the people servicing your systems and do they specifically understand the sensitivity of your data?

Healthcare, for example, has extra regulations and guidelines that must be followed.

Anyone servicing this industry should be able to provide you evidence of certification and or specialization in this area. Simply working in the field is not enough.

Look for certifications in privacy and cybersecurity – here are some recognized Canadian certifications: Certified Information Privacy Professional; Certified Information Security Manager; Certified Information Systems Security Professional.

These certifications require Continuing Education and measurement of knowledge, which means your cybersecurity advisor will understand current security threats and challenges in order to best protect your business or healthcare practice.

Can they provide the necessary training?

Your staff needs to become more self-sufficient with the systems and understand the daily threats they will encounter when working over the internet, with email, and with digital customer/patient files.

Alexio’s award-winning innovation

There’s much more than meets the eye when it comes to keeping systems safe and running smoothly.

Automation and machine-learning have made great strides in reducing expense and increasing the security and functionality of business networks.

Book a chat with me to see how automation can help your business or healthcare practice.

About Anne Genge:

Anne Genge is CDM 2020 Global Cyber Defense Award Winner – ‘Most Innovative Woman in Cybersecurity.’  She is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/C) with a specialization in small business and healthcare. In 2017 she Co-founded Alexio Corporation, now a National and Global Award-winning Cybersecurity firm. Anne is passionate about education and automation as crucial vehicles to solving data security.

About Alexio Corporation:

Alexio Corporation is an award-winning CyberRisk prevention software and training company for healthcare practices and other small to medium sized businesses. Leveraging automation, machine-learning, and multi-layered security threat intelligence, Alexio specializes in delivering enterprise-class cyber-security to smaller networks. Alexio’s subscription-based model means that all businesses, no matter their size can protect patient, client, and consumer data. See https://getalexio.com/ for more information.

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