In a world of infinite games, where the objective is to keep playing, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of the shifting “tech”tonic plates. Business is an infinite game, and the goal is to leave behind a legacy worthy of the dream you’re working to create. It is up to you as the player to stay agile and relevant so you can stay on track to seeing your vision to fruition.
Technology has been a huge part of any business for more than the last 20 years. Every day the world makes enormous breakthroughs, releasing new “cutting-edge” technology, pushing the industries to use the latest and greatest -and often the most expensive. How do you know what’s needed for your business? Are you chasing toys or actually getting a return on the investment you make in technology? Do you rely on someone else to advise you on these matters? Even in the businesses where Simon Sinek’s teachings haven’t been heard of yet, the numbers mean nothing if your technology falls apart, especially if we’re talking about the result of a cyber attack.
Sales and Marketing people in the technology industry do not make things any easier, especially with the new coined terms that keep coming out solely to flash and bedazzle those who aren’t in the know and cannot tell the difference. This requires an enormous amount of time and effort that isn’t practical for people who need to focus on running the business. Delegation is an essential skill for any good leader, knowing when to take your hands off the wheel, allowing the job to fall under the responsibility of the appropriate person is the only way you can succeed in your own work. The same holds true for the technology side, although with one major difference. Technology runs your business, and without it you have nothing.
Proper management of your IT Department is absolutely the responsibility that stays within your organization. There are many IT Service Providers (those who are called MSPs and MSSPs) that will offer you a fully outsourced IT Department with promises of a good night’s sleep and “rest easy” feelings as they handle your business IT needs. How many of those companies are going to include in their agreement reimbursing your business if you need to pay for a Ransomware Attack, or even include the ransomware recovery work as non-billable agreement covered labor? None
IT Support and Management is extremely different today from what it was like back in the day, it used to be you could run your business and in a worst case scenario buy a new system and keep moving forward. Nowadays, with the “right” attack your business could be defrauded for hundreds of thousands of dollars, without your security ever being penetrated! If your security is penetrated you could be talking about costs just as heavy just to get back in business. To be clear, we’re talking about the business being completely down, and losing the ability to be productive, while your staff are still on payroll, AND a ransom you still have to pay! This is an unquantifiable loss of epic proportions and it doesn’t stop there.
Data Privacy laws now dictate that you are responsible for the security of digital (and non-digital) data that is stored by your business. This means if data you’re holding is stolen and distributed to the public, you’re looking at an IT Audit and legal fines from whatever regulatory body you were obligated to be in compliance with (maybe without even realizing it). Ignorance is not an excuse, and the fine will range anywhere from a hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per record of compromised data. This is means for each person’s data that was stolen (lets say 100 people) you’re looking at 100x the cost of the fine!
The harsh reality is that this type of issue is a business ending event, and you need to be aware of the risk so you can properly account for and take the right actions to ensure that you’re best protected and the risk is mitigated. Using an MSP and MSSP is absolutely something that is going to be required. Without the funds to run a fully staffed IT Department and Security Department, you aren’t otherwise able to keep watch on your environment 24/7 and don’t have the resources to stay on top of all the changing technology (both security notices and the best ways to innovate). Creating a relationship beyond the standard Vendor/Client is going to be what saves you here. Your business is your baby, and you should ensure you know, trust, and love your babysitter so that you can be 100% certain that they will take care of your baby for you the way you would if you could. At this day and age almost every MSP is going to be boiler plate to a certain extent, it’s going to be the relationship they build with you, and the skill they bring to the table, that will give you the edge in today’s world to keep your business relevant and the lights on.