With each new year comes plans and agendas that sometimes come to fruition and other times get thrown out the window due to competing priorities. Rather than a long list of unattainable action items, we have prepared a short list of must-do’s for 2019.
Prepare for Microsoft’s Discontinuation of Support and Security Updates
Microsoft will soon discontinue support for Server 2008 and Windows 7. It’s time to take inventory and plan for replacements.
January 14, 2020 marks the end of support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2. And, end-of-life for Windows 7 is scheduled for January 2020. The end of support means that you will no longer receive security updates, leaving you vulnerable to new viruses and malware.
The good news: Newer, faster, more robust options are available. We can help you upgrade and transition. We will help you identify the devices that require an upgrade and perform the migration without impacting your business productivity.
Review Regulatory Compliance Mandates
Laws, regulations, internal policies, and industry-specific compliance mandates are put in place to safeguard businesses and customers. When it comes to compliance, each business is subject to unique guidelines and requirements. But, no matter what your business does or who you serve, compliance is an ongoing initiative that is impacted by growth, changing industry regulations, geography, and laws.
It’s not only important to review your own business compliance requirements on a regular basis, but to understand your customer’s compliance needs. The new year is a great time to review policies and regulations, ensuring you comply or are aware of changes necessary. Some industries have strict requirements for annual compliance reviews, while other industries are only susceptible to their own internal policies and procedures.
Your organization’s size and industry will determine the complexity of compliance review. Some reviews may take place by an in-house committee or staff member and others may require a third-party auditor. Start by collecting all policies and procedures, both those that impact your staff and business and those that your customers expect from you.
For example, a policy that is defined by you, is unique to your organization, and directly impacts your staff and business may be a code of conduct policy or computer/device use policy. An industry regulation that applies to numerous organizations and requires regular review and audits is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). If you accept credit card payment, PCI DSS applies to you and dictates how and where you securely store credit card information.
Understand Internet Connectivity Performance
Internet connectivity is a critical component of business operations. Everything from telephone systems, receiving customer emails, and creating invoices depends on a reliable, secure, and fast internet connection. Employees with multiple connected devices, remote workers connecting through a VPN, hosted servers, and cloud-based applications all impact the speed and reliability of your internet.
Take this time to review the bandwidth, speed, and customer service provided by your internet service provider. It’s also important to evaluate the security controls and bandwidth of your firewall. Finally, if Internet connectivity is mission critical, meaning your business would suffer damage if internet service was lost for a temporary time frame, it may be worth considering a backup internet connection.
Protecting your business can be as simple as planning ahead. As always, we are here to help you with all your technical service needs. Contact us to discuss your priorities for 2019.